Editor’s note: Read more about Judge Sullivan’s odd courtroom outburst.
The federal prosecution of former national security advisor Michael Flynn is another episode in the disgraceful history of James Comey’s tenure as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case has become a complete debacle, to the point where even the presiding judge appears to be losing his mind.
Flynn’s sentencing has now been postponed yet again. Both the prosecution and the former lieutenant general’s defense team have made errors and it now seems that the continuation of this affair only proves how determined the FBI and the special counsel is to persecute a former member of President Donald Trump’s executive office staff.
…Flynn’s legal troubles are the result of him being set up…
It may not be fair to describe Comey as incompetent, but it is fair to say that he appears to have run the Bureau in an erratic and improvisational way, ignoring or circumventing both FBI and Justice Department rules as he saw fit. Comey recently bragged, during a televised interview, of how he willfully ignored protocol by sending FBI agents to interview Flynn at the White House, just weeks after Trump took office, without going through the proper channels.
While so much about this case is shrouded in accusation, speculation, and conflicting versions of events, two things are abundantly clear: First, FBI officials deliberately gave Flynn the false impression that, rather than treating him as the subject of an investigation, they were simply asking him to tell them what, if anything, he had known about Russian intentions toward the 2016 presidential election. Second, Flynn was aware that lying to FBI agents during his interview would have been a felony, but he was under the impression that he was aiding them in their investigation. At worst, he may have misremembered one or more details about his conversation with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Flynn and Comey Both Flawed
Sadly, Comey will probably never face any legal repercussions for his many mistakes and transgressions but Flynn has been ruined financially and may yet go to prison for alleged crimes committed by so many others who faced no consequences. Swamp is, perhaps, too decent an analogy for the current state of the Department of Justice and the monstrous, unelected, and unaccountable bureaucracy behind it.
Michael Flynn had an impressive military career but that doesn’t make him a saint. He was less than honest with a number of people – including Vice President Mike Pence – about the nature of his conversations with Kislyak in 2016. For that lack of candor, Flynn lost his position as Trump’s national security advisor.
Turkey is not an ally of the United States and Flynn’s company worked for – or, at least, on behalf of – the Turkish government. That should also be a matter of concern. So, the former lieutenant general should not be canonized. That said, it appears highly probable that Flynn’s legal troubles are the result of him being set up and, indeed, framed by vengeful and politically partisan FBI officials.
Is This Case About Revenge?
Quite apart from the obvious animus toward Trump on the part of many senior FBI officials, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe may have had an additional ax to grind against Flynn. Circa published a report that details how Flynn may have run afoul of McCabe back in 2014 when the general supported an FBI counterterrorism agent who accused McCabe and other senior Bureau officials of sexual discrimination.
Supervisory Special Agent Robyn Gritz found herself targeted by her superiors after they discovered that she intended to file a discrimination complaint. Flynn penned an official letter in support of Gritz and offered to testify on her behalf, essentially making himself a witness against McCabe. The FBI unsuccessfully sought to block the general’s intervention in the case and McCabe held it against him, according to FBI sources. “Three FBI employees told Circa they personally witnessed McCabe make disparaging remarks about Flynn before and during the time the retired Army general emerged as a figure in the Russia case,” the report says.
“As far as the troops in the field,” one senior federal law enforcement official told the news organization, “the vast majority were disgusted with the Russia decision, but that was McCabe driving the result that eventually led [former FBI Director James] Comey to make the decision.”
Saturated in Misconduct
McCabe himself was fired from the FBI for lack of candor, which is official parlance for lying to FBI officials. He is himself the subject of an ongoing investigation and may yet face his own criminal charges. Peter Strzok, one of the agents who interviewed Flynn and reported that the general exhibited not indicia of deception, is also out of the Bureau – fired as a result of his personal political bias against President Trump. Comey was also fired, though it seems that could have been the most lenient of punishments he may deserve.
The Flynn case, then, is saturated with misconduct, media leaks, disgraced FBI officials, and questionable evidence. Though the general himself pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, he may well have done so to relieve his family of the continuing burden of Robert Mueller’s prosecutorial zeal. One wonders, at this point, why Judge Emmet Sullivan hasn’t dismissed the case against Flynn. Despite conducting himself, during the sentencing hearing, in a manner that many observers considered almost bizarre, the judge has an impressive reputation – particularly for calling out prosecutorial misconduct. Could it be that Sullivan is just giving Robert Mueller’s team more time to dig the hole they are in even deeper?