And so it begins: Flynn charged with lying to the FBI, expected to plead guilty

The first Trump administration official has gone down, barely a year after the election. According to many sites, including CNBC, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has charged Michael Flynn, Trump’s ex national security advisor, with one count of lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials.  He’s pleading guilty, I suspect as part of some deal in which he’ll implicate others. The CNBC report:

Flynn is expected to plead guilty to a criminal information charging him with knowingly making materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statements to FBI agents.

Specifically, Flynn is accused of falsely claiming that he had not asked Russia’s ambassador to the United States last Dec. 29 “to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day.”

Flynn also allegedly lied by telling the FBI “he did not recall the Russian Ambassador subsequently telling him that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request,” the information says.

That didn’t take long. Every time I travel, I have to emphasize that I despise Trump and his administration, for everywhere I go people are baffled that we elected such a moron. So far, the Republicans haven’t accomplished anything despite a year of controlling Congress and the Presidency (as well as the Supreme Court), and our governance is in shambles. This is why they’re so desperate to pass a misguided and harmful tax bill: simply to demonstrate that they can do something besides talk.

74 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Sub

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    I think it is safe to say, we will be seeing many more examples of bad behavior from Trump in the days ahead. It kind of started yesterday with his tweeter but will get much worse. Flynn is headed to court as we speak.

    • Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      “I think it is safe to say…”

      Indeed. It would be startling, to say the least, if he suddenly began behaving in a civilized manner.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        “Modern day presidential”

    • Desnes Diev
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      You mean like poo hitting twitter and flying all over?

      Huckabee Sanders will probably have a lot of whitewashing to do. That’s a woman without any sense of self-consideration… nearly admirable, if not for her lack of ethical sensibility.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted December 1, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        Yeah, she better have those dancing shoe on tight.

      • Filippo
        Posted December 1, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

        I wonder whether and how her Reverend politico father has advised her regarding her ethical sensibilities while carrying out her professional duties.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 2, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

          I wonder whether and how her Reverend politico father has advised her regarding her ethical sensibilities

          “Why honey, they’re dead in a fluid-proof bag in the bottom of the freezer where you put them after we clubbed them to death on the day you took the job.”
          They’re not forensically blind, not that I’m sure that cold-blooded destruction of ethical sensibilities is actually a crime. Outside Scandinavia.

  3. Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Seth Abramson, Attorney and Professor of Journalism and Law at the University of New Hampshire, seems to be a good person to follow as these charges from Mueller dribble out.

    Abramson provides long twitter threads explaining the legal and plot implications of each new development. I am in no way qualified to pronounce on his accuracy but he reads extremely convincing and a man who knows his onions about how to examine and build a prosecutorial case. As he points out, the only 2 people above Flynn in the hierarchy are Pence and Trump. Abramson wonders what Flynn has given up about them (and Sessions, his equal in the management tree) in order to get away with as relatively minor a charge as lying to the FBI.

    • BJ
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      “…in order to get away with as relatively minor a charge as lying to the FBI.”

      This seems like the key to me. It’s all speculation, but getting away with the Ukraine/Turkey lobbying and the various other possible criminal charges that might have been levied seems to indicate Flynn has been flipped completely.

    • darrelle
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      Yes. Is this a tell that Flynn has given up some really damning evidence against Trump? Or is it just a subtle bluff?

      • jay
        Posted December 1, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        Flynn (who is an Obama holdover, BTW) has his own history, including some alleged shady deals with Erdogan. I suspect that’s the leverage they have on him.

        Whether he comes up with something actually incriminating (discussions with foreign officials is not a crime), we’ll have to see.

        • GBJames
          Posted December 1, 2017 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

          If he hadn’t offered something “actually incriminating” Mueller would not have made the deal.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted December 1, 2017 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

          An “Obama holdover”? Hardly. Obama fired Flynn as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and specifically warned Trump against hiring Flynn as National Security Advisor when Trump met with him at the White House during the transition.

          • rickflick
            Posted December 1, 2017 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

            How do we know that juicy item? Was a record made of the meeting? I assumed it would be a private conversation.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted December 1, 2017 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

              Per the link I provided above, several top Obama and Trump aides who were present spoke about it at the time. Trump press secretary Sean Spicer since acknowledged on the record that Obama warned Trump about Flynn.

              • rickflick
                Posted December 2, 2017 at 7:50 am | Permalink

                OK, so it almost looks like Trump was determined to do exactly the opposite of whatever Obama said. If Obama was more Machiavellian, he would have known this and said what he did to sabotage Trump.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted December 2, 2017 at 9:17 am | Permalink

                If Obama was more Machiavellian

                RickFlick makes it sound as if Machiavelli were considered a bad person, rather than a realist describing the world.
                I really should read “The Prince” again.
                Bloody borked reply system, still choked at about 10 levels deep.

              • rickflick
                Posted December 2, 2017 at 9:23 am | Permalink

                “Machiavellianism in psychology refers to a personality trait which sees a person so focused on their own interests they will manipulate, deceive, and exploit others to achieve their goals. Machiavellianism is one of the traits in what is called the ‘Dark Triad’, the other two being narcissism and psychopathy…see also, Trumpism…”

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Jared Kushner is wearing a big bulls-eye on his back right now.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted December 1, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        This is very true. It is likely that Jared was telling Flynn what to do specifically on the sanctions. There is only one more dot to connect and that is the president.

        • Posted December 1, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

          It simply beggars belief the Trump Sr didn’t know what Trump Jr was doing.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted December 1, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

          Among many other things, Kushner’s December 2016 meeting with Russian spy/money-launderer/Putin-henchmen Sergey Gorkov — and his efforts during the transition to set up a secret communication with Vladimir Putin using Russian intelligence facilities — stink to high heaven. Flynn’s got the good on him there.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted December 1, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

            The Flynn thread must go out to everyone and there has to be a lot of very worried people running around. Sessions would do well to stop pretending he does not know what he does know but I guess if you have been lying your whole life, why change now.

  4. Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    I was chatting online with a vendor from Canada yesterday and I decided to make a trade with him:

    Me: Have a nice day in Canada. You can have our president if you’d like. We’ll trade you. Ours is a horrible person.
    Canada: Our Prime Minister isn’t the greatest either 😦 but I definitely can’t complain when considering the alternative.
    Me: OK. I’ll be sending our president by Express Mail. Be expecting a big fat package.
    Canada: You’ll have to send him as oversized mail. But I don’t think there’s enough packaging material to fit his ego so I don’t know how you’ll transport that. 🙂
    Me: I’ll find a way. Thanks. Bye.

    • BJ
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      “But I don’t think there’s enough packaging material to fit his ego so I don’t know how you’ll transport that. 🙂
      Me: I’ll find a way. Thanks. Bye.”

      I think you would have to condense it and ship it in whatever container might be developed to transport antimatter once we figure out how to cultivate it at CERN. This may take several decades.

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      “…I don’t know how you’ll transport that.”

      A large herd of bulls comes to mind.

  5. Craw
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Isn’t this what Trump fired him for?

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Trump fired him because he had no choice. The lying means nothing to Trump, it’s the getting caught that is the crime.

      • Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        Flynn is charged with lying to the FBI about the substance of his discussions with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. That’s different to Pence’s assertion that he couldn’t trust Flynn regarding their discussion about the same issue.

        • Craw
          Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

          He was fired for lying to Pence. So, are these the same lies? It sounds like the same lies he was fired for, just told to the FBI rather than to Pence.

          • Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

            I don’t know, to be honest, Craw. I’d follow the experts, if I were you. It seems entirely reasonable what they’re saying to me. Flynn and his lawyer indicated back in March that they were willing to do a deal, and given the evidence of him working for Turkey and Russia, he didn’t want Mueller going after hm effectively for treason: it looks like he spilled the beans and copped to telling porkies in an FBI interview instead. What he got for that was less jail-time and what the FBI got was information on what his bosses knew and when they knew it.

            • Craw
              Posted December 1, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

              Well wait and see if definitely the right approach. But the triumphalism of some here seems premature. If these are the same lies we knew about going in, the lies that were told to Pence (and hence by proxy to Trump), then it’s a nothing burger so far.

              The theory here seems to be that Flynn has ‘turned’ and has incriminating testimony. That might be true but I am skeptical, because if that’s the deal I would expect the final charges to be settled up *after* Flynn testifies. But that too is speculation.

              • Posted December 1, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

                Flynn has pleaded guilty “through his faith in God”. So that makes it alright then.

                Trump is spinning it as no more than what he fired Flynn for. That probably won’t work in the medium to long term because Flynn has agreed to give testimony against Trump. For Flynn to be credible in a future case, the amount of publicly available illegal activity he has done would have to be minimal – and it would be if all he had was just a conviction for lying to the FBI.

                It’s likely that Mueller knew what Flynn had done in the Russia and Turkey incidents, gave Flynn the opportunity to lie about it, showed how he knew Flynn was lying and bargained with him. I’ll accuse you merely of lying to us about the Russian Ambassador, but you need to tell us what Trump and Pence told you to do. The speed with which Flynn’s case has been dealt with today suggests it was all choreographed.

                Trump must know that Mueller is probably coming after him with information Flynn supplied and which Mueller has double-checked. Trump’s window to get Mueller fired is closing, the more we find out about the events.

              • Craw
                Posted December 1, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink

                I will confess to a peculiarity that might seem odd to some here. I wait to see evidence before I evaluate it. We will see.

              • Posted December 1, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

                Fair enough, craw, but if you met someone like Trump in your private life how long do you think it would be until it occurred to you that this character was a crook? For myself, I would probably give it a minute – on a bad day.

                Things are looking grim for the Don. Comey, who could appear for the prosecution in an impeachment or criminal case, just tweeted this: “’But justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream’ Amos 5:24″ The separation of powers looks to be separating Donald from his powers.

              • Posted December 1, 2017 at 11:29 am | Permalink

                “I will confess to a peculiarity that might seem odd to some here. I wait to see evidence before I evaluate it.”

                WEIT attracts people who value evidence. That and some of the roolz are kind of the point of coming here (plus the Cats. Can’t forget the cats).

                I (for one) will admit to a significant amount of schadenfreude today at the beginning of the disintegration of the Trump regime and will dance when they are all (figuratively!) swinging. But don’t mistake hope for the justice we all know ought to be brought upon them for a lack of respecting evidence.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted December 1, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

                Flynn has pled to reduced charges, and his sentencing will remain over his head pending the completion of his cooperation. That’s SoP in federal criminal cases.

                It’s been a fait accompli that Flynn was cooperating since his lawyers terminated their joint-defense agreement with the lawyers for Trump. Flynn himself made it express today in the post-plea press release.

                Flynn wouldn’t have gotten the deal that he did (avoiding even more serious charges regarding his dealings with Turkey) unless he were oooperating “up” — and that leaves but a small circle of Trump people inside the West Wing.

              • Posted December 1, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

                I agree with your analysis here. Well said.

              • Craw
                Posted December 1, 2017 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

                I don’t think that’s so clear Ken

                http://www.nationalreview.com/article/454269/michael-flynn-plea-no-breakthrough-russia-investigation

                Everyone is just reading tea-leaves at this point.

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted December 1, 2017 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

                @Craw The conservative National Review is somewhat compromised on certain issues. They certainly are not an independent source of nws & opinion.

                Example: The NR is very ExxonMobil-friendly. This is probably because a few writers at the NR are linked to the American Enterprise Institute [think tank] which has received donations from ExxonMobil in the past.

                B. DeVos also funnels money to NR via one think tank or another [can’t recall which right now]

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

            The pleading of guilty today in court for lying twice to the FBI. His lying to Pence is hardly relevant at this time. The special prosecution has so many things on Flynn he could have been going to jail forever, including his son. This is simply a deal to cooperate. He lied about sanctions, he lied about Russians and on and on.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted December 1, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

            You think there’s a chance in hell that Trump didn’t know that Flynn was discussing the Obama administration sanctions against Russia with Russian ambassador Kislyak? We will discover that Flynn was doing so at Trump’s behest (which Trump has repeatedly lied about).

            And Trump only fired Flynn because The Washington Post ran an article disclosing that acting AG Sally Yates had told the White House weeks before that Flynn had been caught unlawfully discussing the Russian sanctions with Kislyak.

            • Randall Schenck
              Posted December 1, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

              Exactly. Yates had already told the white house council about Flynn so weeks later when they fire Flynn, the idea that it was for lying to Pence is just laughable. The bigger question is why did Flynn lie to the FBI on this if all he was guilty of was the Logan Act. Something bigger I think.

          • Posted December 1, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

            The charging papers are available on the intertubes (amazingly brief only a single page) with both charges spelled out.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      According to the factual statement entered today in support of Flynn’s plea, Flynn received directions from senior Trump transition officials, who were then meeting with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, regarding his negotiations with Kislyak over the Russia sanctions.

      This puts the lie to Trump’s entire charade that he didn’t know about the Flynn-Kislyak talks and to the ridiculous farce that Flynn was fired for lying to Mike Pence. The tissue of lies with which Trump has attempted to paper over his collusion with Russia is being shredded.

  6. YF
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    The primary reason why the Greedy Old Pricks so desperately want to pass the tax scam bill is to satisfy their donors (aka, the Koch brothers).

    Trump or no Trump, our democracy is doomed unless we can block these oligarchs from manipulating the system with financial bribes and blackmail.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      @YF You’d have to get rid of…

      The lobbying industry – the fuel that Washington runs on

      The military/industrial system that allows contractors to charge what the hell they like & to commit fraud with impunity [most of the time]

      And peg total political campaign donations at some level well, well below what they run at today. The system as it is now is so expensive that it requires that politicians are bought & paid for by donors long before they’re elected.

      I discount the possibility of change-for-the-better entirely [this side of a revolution by the little people or some similar shock to the system that puts ethics/moral to the fore]

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Back in June, Trump held a presser in the Rose Garden where he promised, 100%, to testify under oath to the Mueller investigation.

    Anybody want to make book on the odds of the Donald fulfilling that solemn promise to the American people?

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Don’t think that will ever take place, however, I would like to see him defending himself when the impeachment begins.

  8. Ken Pidcock
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    What? I just went through nineteen comments, and no one else said, Lock him up?

    • Posted December 1, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Perhaps it’s a compliment to the refusal of commenters on this site, tempting though it is, to reach for the immediate sub-30s gangster movie cliché like “sing like a canary”, “take the fifth”, and “on top o’ the world, ma!”, even though many might be thinking it.

      Maybe Marlon Brando,as Mike Flynn, got it right. “You was my brother, Charley,” he says. “You shoulda looked out for me a little bit. You shoulda taken care of me, just a little bit, so I wouldn’t have to take them dives for the short-end money…I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.”

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 1, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        We’ll see who winds up with the one-way ticket to Palookaville in this shit-show.

        • Posted December 1, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

          I suggest reading all comments in an accent midway between Bugs Bunny and James Cagney: poihaps, dat’ll git de appopiate ayuutmuspheyah.

          • Liz
            Posted December 1, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

            lol. That’s perfect.

      • Ken Pidcock
        Posted December 1, 2017 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        Reference is to his remarks at the 2016 Republican convention.

    • Filippo
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      May one reasonably anticipate eventually hearing the Trumpists shout, “DON’T Lock Him Up!”?

  9. chris moffatt
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Got a long way to go to beat the record of the Reagan administration.

    • DiscoveredJoys
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      In my view, as a non US citizen, every American president from Nixon onwards has had some personal failing or secret allegiance to an elite group of some sort. Some worse than others.

      Perhaps your ways of selecting presidential candidates are broken? It’s either that or your expectations are impractical.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 1, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        “… every American president from Nixon onwards has had some … secret allegiance to an elite group …”

        The Bilderburg Group? Trilateral Commission? Bohemian Grove? The Rothschilds? The Creature from Jeckyll Island?

        Time for an updated edition of Richard Hofstadter’s book, obvs.

        • BJ
          Posted December 1, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink

          An elite group could also just be Wall Street executives and billionaire donors, and if that’s what DiscoveredJoys meant, I’m inclined to agree.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted December 1, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

            Funny way of saying “beholden to wealthy donors,” doncha think?

  10. Stephen Barnard
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Loved the perp walk. Brief and dignified. Next up, Kushner is handcuffed and frog-marched into federal court.

    • darrelle
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Or maybe he’ll suddenly disappear and show up days later chilling at a posh Black Sea resort.

  11. Posted December 1, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Asking the Russians not to rachet up the problem seems like a good thing to me. Lying to the FBI about it seems inexplicable.

    For all of Trump’s faults, at least, in the beginning, his people were trying to deescalate the dangerous and ridiculous conflict with the Russians that the Democrats had fomented.

    I doubt Flynn intentionally lied about this, knowing the legal risk. More likely his guilty plea is the lie, to avoid something else they threatened him with.

    Now the neo-cons/lib War Party has reestablished dominance and Flynn is fighting for his life against it — and probably against Trump as well, who threw in the towel early.

    • darrelle
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Depressing.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Trump isn’t endeavoring to improve US-Russia relations out of some misguided notion of what’s in this nation’s best interests. He’s trying to help Putin and his oligarchs get out from under US sanctions because he (Trump) has been compromised by the Russians, likely via large, longstanding infusions of dirty Russian money into Trump’s businesses.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted December 1, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        And maybe dirty Russian women….

  12. rickflick
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    I recall that Flynn has a special feeling for his son, who likely is also subject to Mueller’s powers. According to that notion, Flynn would be more protective of his son than even himself. I would not be surprised if that’s one of the threats Mueller is using to get cooperation from Flynn. In any event this looks like a bit of good news when good news has been scanty.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      It is better than good news. This is the beginning of the end for Trump. Yes we will have to put up with Pence for some time, assuming he survives but that is the price to pay. It is also the end of the republican era as well.

      • darrelle
        Posted December 1, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        I hope so. But I’m not sure about that at all. It’s been clear for many years, at least since the Bush Jr. administration in my opinion, and yet here we are.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted December 1, 2017 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

          Well, this is all about Trump and his tribe and begins in early 2016/late 2015. It could cover lots of other illegal activities but will likely concentrate on involvement with Russia to influence the election, contact with Russia during the transition that is illegal and also very important, interfering with FBI and Justice department (obstruction of justice). We could move on to money laundering and income tax evasion for many of these folks but for now I just concentrate on Impeachment of Trump. I think the correct action will be to remove Trump first and then criminal issues with the others. Once he is impeached he cannot pardon others.

  13. Susan D.
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    “…for everywhere I go people are baffled that we elected such a moron.” I didn’t think that you did elect him. I thought it was the totally undemocratic stupid Electoral College institution that elected him. What a crock.

  14. Posted December 1, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    My (African-American) doctor took a trip abroad just before whatshisname was elected. She quickly got into the habit of raising her hands in surrender, backing aways and saying “No. I don’t want to talk about it” to those who approached with “Can you explain to me…?”


%d bloggers like this: