When a person faces a criminal charge, the prosecution must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. A conviction should not be the result of any hint of prosecutorial abuse. A confession is invalid if obtained fraudulently or under duress. And most of all, the person should be guilty of a crime.
So, how do these standards apply to the Flynn case?
General Michael Flynn was brought in to investigate alleged criminal collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. The pretext of that investigation is questionable to say the least. The charge was subject to an investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. After two years – and the expenditure of $35 million – it was determined that no such collusion took place. The entire investigation was bogus.
More recent disclosures reveal that the entire accusation and investigation was launched with a bogus dossier requested – and paid for – by the Clinton campaign. It was produced by Russian operatives working with Christopher Steele – a former British intelligence agent who headed up the Russian Desk. In other words, the Clinton campaign was colluding with foreign officials to influence the presidential election.
The dossier was used inappropriately by FBI officials – including Director James Comey – to obtain permission to tap the phones of Trump associates – including Flynn.
Flynn was charged with lying to investigators even though there was no underlying crime associated with his interviews. He did not provide incriminating information on Trump because there was no such information to be had. Mueller proved that.
In the initial report by the FBI agents, they said that they did not believe Flynn was lying to them even if some information was not technically correct. It was revealed in other documents that several high officials were attempting to get something on Trump. They did not know what, but they were going to come up with something. So, they started to play out the bogus Russian collusion story.
Flynn confessed to lying to the agents after they decided to squeeze him with a form of legal blackmail. They threatened him with more severe charges and also threatened to indict his son. Flynn did not have the resources to fight a prolonged court battle against the government … so, he confessed. It is known as a perjury trap.
When information came out that seemed to show that the FBI was setting him up, he recanted his confession prior to sentencing. The Department of Justice ordered the case to be dropped, but the judge in the case refused. Whether the case would move forward or be dropped was being debated when Trump issued the pardon.
The FBI was using Flynn to get at Trump. There was no other reason to go after Flynn the way they did.
While I know that lying to investigators is considered a felony crime – even when there is no underlying crime – it is just wrong. It does not seem reasonable that a person can be charged with lying about some wild goose chase that does not culminate in at least an indictment for a crime. Flynn could hardly be accused of obstructing the investigation when there was nothing to find – ergo nothing to obstruct.
Flynn never should have been interviewed by the FBI. He never should have been charged with lying. He never should have been pressured into a confession. And the judge should have dropped the case when the DOJ dropped the case. Since none of that happened, Trump was correct in granting the pardon. Flynn’s pardon was not about mercy. He did not need mercy. He only needed justice.
So, there ‘tis.