Michael Flynn seeks an immunity deal for his testimony

Last week I posted about Friday’s edition of Don Lemon CNN Tonight, in which CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem discussed the possibility in a panel discussion that former national security adviser Mike Flynn has cut a deal with the FBI and is now informing on his old boss. CNN analyst: Sources say Mike Flynn may have turned on Trump and become a witness for the FBI.

Kayyem may have been a bit premature with her analysis, but the Wall Street Journal (pay firewall) confirmed on Thursday that Mike Flynn Offers to Testify in Exchange for Immunity: “Mike Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, has told the Federal Bureau of Investigation and congressional officials investigating the Trump campaign’s potential ties to Russia that he is willing to be interviewed in exchange for a grant of immunity from prosecution, according to officials with knowledge of the matter.”

The Washington Post picks up the Journal’s reporting. Flynn offers to cooperate with congressional probe in exchange for immunity:

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has offered to cooperate with congressional investigators in exchange for immunity from prosecution, a suggestion that has been met with initial skepticism, according to people familiar with the matter.

“General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit,’’ Flynn’s attorney, Robert Kelner, said in a statement Thursday evening. “Out of respect for the committees, we will not comment right now on the details of discussions between counsel for General Flynn and the House and Senate intelligence committees, other than to confirm that those discussions have taken place. But it is important to acknowledge the circumstances in which those discussions are occurring.’’

The committees are both looking into whether any associates of Donald Trump may have coordinated with agents of the Russian government seeking to meddle in last year’s presidential election. The FBI is also investigating. The Trump administration has denied any such coordination.

The offer by Flynn’s lawyer was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. Flynn’s overture seemed to have been aimed principally at the Senate committee, as Democrats on the House committee said they had not received word of an offer of testimony for immunity.

Officials said the idea of immunity for Flynn — who is considered a central figure in the probes because of his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States — was a “non-starter,’’ particularly at such an early stage of the investigations. A wide-ranging grant of immunity could protect Flynn from potential future charges from the Justice Department, but Congress has the power to grant only limited “testimonial” immunity, which means prosecutors cannot use witnesses’ testimony against them in any prosecution. Ultimately, it is Justice’s decision whether to grant immunity from prosecution for any underlying conduct that is discussed, or other matters that don’t come up in testimony.

Note: Congress should remember how it fucked-up prosecutions in the Iran-Contra scandal by granting testimonial immunity before congressional committees. Reagan’s Deputy National Security Advisor John Poindexter is a textbook example: he was convicted in April 1990 of multiple felonies as a result of his actions in the Iran–Contra affair, but his convictions were reversed on appeal in 1991. Another textbook example is Oliver North, no doubt the role model for the show that Michael Flynn wants to put on before Congress. Oliver North was convicted of three counts: accepting an illegal gratuity, aiding and abetting in the obstruction of a congressional inquiry, and ordering the destruction of documents through his secretary, Fawn Hall. North’s convictions were vacated, after the appeals court found that witnesses in his trial might have been impermissibly affected by his immunized congressional testimony.

The moral of the story: no congressional immunity. Let Michael Flynn take the Fifth. As for the FBI, it should focus on proffer letter immunity, the weakest form of immunity. How Immunity Works In Federal Criminal Cases.

Words that Michael Flynn now has to eat: Michael Flynn in 2016: Immunity ‘means you probably committed a crime’ with respect to the Hillary Clinton email probe. Flynn’s insane GOP Convention speech in which he made wild accusations of criminal behavior and led the buffoons in chants of “lock her up!” is karma coming back to bite him now. This guy suffers from a serious case of psychological projection.

On Friday, a tweet by President Trump appeared to support Flynn’s offer, saying his former security adviser “should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!Trump’s strange new tweet on the Russia probe reveals his own weakness.

Wow, Trump is clueless about how much trouble he already is in for obstruction of a congressional inquiry, and obstruction of justice with the FBI and Justice Department investigations. His lawyer should be advising him to shut the fuck up!

Flynn’s attorney said his client, a decorated former general, was now the subject of “unfounded allegations, outrageous claims of treason, and vicious innuendo.’’

The lawyer added: “No reasonable person, who has the benefit of advice from counsel, would submit to questioning in such a highly politicized, witch hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution.’’

Peter Zeidenberg, a former federal prosecutor and an assistant special counsel in the prosecution of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, said that the Senate committee apparently did not “want to screw up a possible prosecution.”

But, he added, “there may be things more important than getting a prosecution of Flynn.” Such as learning the extent of contacts between Trump associates and Russian officials. “That is a compelling and urgent need. A prosecution of Flynn could take several years. I wouldn’t want them to wait that long to find out what Flynn knows.”

Leave this to the Department of Justice and the FBI. Congress should stay the hell out of any immunity discussions.

23 responses to “Michael Flynn seeks an immunity deal for his testimony

  1. I find it hard to imagine a more unpatriotic act than Flynn’s. What kind of patriot says, “I have some information that is important to my country but I will not make it available unless I am guaranteed immunity.”? Can you imagine a first responder holding back from a rescue until they are guaranteed safety? Can you imagine a soldier not moving to retrieve a wounded buddy until he is safe? Flynn is demonstrating the opposite of heroism in an incredibly unpatriotic way!

    • I have to disagree with this.

      There are over 10,000 pages of federal legal code, plus various state laws & local ordinances, many, if not most, of which I am betting that neither you nor I are aware of. I seem to remember a claim made that the average person commits somewhere between 1 and 3 felonies per day without being aware of them, because there are so many different ways that the Fed can get you.

      Now, maybe Flynn is a jerk and did some really stupid and quite possibly criminal things. But we have the Fifth Amendment and other legal protections in place to protect the innocent, not to obfuscate the conviction of the guilty.

      • I could agree with you if this was a common criminal case but Flynn, along with Trump, has been claiming a vital national security threat. If the threat is real then hiding behind immunity is not justified.

        • I think it is a very slippery slope to go down if we decide that our Constitutional protections become invalid as soon as the government claims ‘National Security’ or ‘State Secrets’ or similar. It’s the same dangerous path that led Lincoln to suspend Habeas Corpus during the Civil War, or which led to Roosevelt interning Japanese-Americans during WWII.

      • Edward, I do hope you are successful in politics. It is rare to find a politician who is willing to take balanced view of issues.

    • “What kind of patriot says, “I have some information that is important to my country but I will not make it available unless I am guaranteed immunity.”?

      One who is smart enough to have learned the lessons of history when dealing with desperate and angry democrats in a Congressional Committee. Those democrats are looking for anyone to scapegoat about anything they can at this point. So far, this Russian thing has produced ZIP in the way of information to support the democrats claims and as their ability to hit Trump disappears, they are looking to hurt anyone else that they can. ANYTHING Flynn says that can be construed as even possibly illegal will be seized upon by the democrats and they will make much ado about it.

      All of those examples you listed bear no similarity to the Flynn situation. Those examples are of people doing their job and have immediate requirements that the job be done right now. Testifying before Congress is a deliberate action and anyone who does it had better be prepared for more of a kangaroo court than a legitimate inquiry. Patriotism has little or nothing to do with it. It is slowly but surely taking on the appearance of a witch hunt…

      • Steve, let’s not make this a partisan issue, though. McCarthy was just as, if not more, willing to bust heads and create kangaroo courts to implicate people suspected of ‘Communist sympathizing’.

        I do agree, as I stated above, that testifying without immunity is stupid. What I think gets Flynn is that he had previously been quoted as saying words to the effect of ‘if someone is getting immunity, they’re probably guilty’. Because now it does look a little hypocritical.

        • Also, remember all the Benghazi hearings the last couple of years? Or the amount of time and taxpayer resources Congress spent delving into the details of Bill Clinton’s sexual indiscretions?

          I’m not saying that you’re strictly *wrong* that Democrats have done this too. Just don’t let the GOP off when they are also doing it.

  2. Flynn would be an utter idiot to testify without immunity from prosecution, even if he has nothing to add to the record. The democrats want something – anything – to show for their efforts, and history has shown that they are quick to prosecute even when immunity has been granted. Anyone who goes before them thinking honesty is the best policy is a fool. If Flynn goes before them without immunity, the first words out of his mouth should be, “I refuse to answer on the grounds it may incriminate me”. If he answers even one question, they will say he waived his rights under the 5th Amendment and jail him for contempt if he decides to invoke his rights later during questioning.

    This is politics at it’s slimiest and the democrats are getting desperate. At this point they will take anything they can get to punish Trump and his Administration. So far, this Russian thing has produced ZERO usable information despite democrats doing everything they can to raise some sort of issue. They are unwilling to accept the fact that it seems there is nothing there to be found.

    • “The democrats want something – anything – to show for their efforts, and history has shown that they are quick to prosecute…”

      THURSDAY, DEC 11, 2014 08:59 AM -0700
      Good riddance, Darrell Issa: A wasteful blowhard’s humiliating history

      “In four years at the helm of the House of Representative’s primary investigative body, Darrell Issa launched major investigations into the 2012 attack in Benghazi, the IRS’s alleged targeting of conservative organizations, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms’ failed “Fast and Furious” operation, the bankruptcy of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, and the launch of Healthcare.gov. In pursuit of these scandals he was granted a budget of $25,678,100.

      This figure does not account for the $14 million spent by the IRS answering voluminous and often duplicative subpoenas, the “millions” spent by the Department of Defense responding to inquiries about the attack in Benghazi, the budget of the Oversight Committee’s minority staff, nor the massive expenditure of resources by the dozens of other federal agencies that have come under the scrutiny of the Oversight Committee. By its conclusion Darrell Issa’s chairmanship could cost the U.S. Treasury well into the nine figures. From that astounding allocation of resources, Issa has unveiled no major corruption or gotten to the bottom of no significant scandal.

      In an October 2011 profile, Issa described himself to Susan Davis of National Journal as “a salesman,” claiming, “what I’m selling is the awareness of a product.” Yet his principal product has been well-packaged, media-friendly and almost always phony scandals.”

      http://www.salon.com/2014/12/11/good_riddance_darrell_issa_a_wasteful_blowhards_humiliating_history/

    • How soon we forget. Or, how soon we REVISE.

      While the GOP spent most of the Obama years searching for a scandal to fabricate and coming up empty, they are hardly in a position to criticize Democrats for pursuing a real scandal concerning Russian interference in our elections.

    • And furthermore, if Hillary had won the electoral vote instead of Trump, the GOP would already be trying to impeach her for the email server scandal. As I recall, the Clintons were under investigation during both of Bill’s terms.

      Clinton Scandals: A Guide From Whitewater To The Clinton Foundation
      June 21, 20163:00 PM ET
      http://www.npr.org/2016/06/12/481718785/clinton-scandals-a-guide-from-whitewater-to-the-clinton-foundation

    • “This is politics at it’s slimiest and the democrats are getting desperate…”

      Very astute had you been referring to the GOP during the Obama years. Allow me to fix it:

      “…. At this point they will take anything they can get to punish President Obama for being black and winning the election. So far, their attempts to fabricate a scandal have produced ZERO usable information despite Republicans doing everything they can to raise some sort of issue. They are unwilling to accept the fact that it seems there is nothing there to be found and that a black man was indeed democratically elected to be the POTUS”.

      Ah, yes, the truth will set you free, Steve.

      • To both Liza and Edward: You will not find anywhere that I tried to exonerate the GOP for what it has done in the past, nor have I tried to justify it. Both parties have their share of witch hunts under their belts. But at the current moment, we are discussing the Russian imbroglio and that is what my comments are about. Taking on the long history of Congressional kangaroo courts is more than I am prepared to do, so rest easy. I fully acknowledge the GOP has had it share of equally stupid behavior displays in the past.

        • Whenever the GOP gets caught it is always, “Both parties are guilty”.

          Perhaps my memory is flawed, but I cannot recall the Democratic equivalent of Darrell Issa, at least in my own lifetime.

        • And that impeachment of Bill Clinton essentially for his lascivious behavior while Bin Laden was escalating his attacks on us. Nothing like having your priorities right, I always say.

          We became the world’s joke, thanks to the GOP, and now we are again since we elected a carnival barker president who surrounds himself with white supremacists, billionaires, and village idiots.

        • And, the Democrats never STOLE a SCOTUS nomination from a sitting president. And the pile of infected dog feces that is the majority leader in the Senate thinks of this as his greatest accomplishment (among so many other great accomplishments).

        • And then there’s Martha McSally voting with Trump 100% of the time while pretending she is this great advocate for women’s rights. Preaching to us that the Affordable Care Act is a failure while 1.) Not being specific as to why it has already failed and 2.) Not being specific as to how the Trumpcare Tax Cut corrects the failings of the ACA and 3.) Claiming to be a healthcare advocate because she “successfully” amended Trumpcare all by herself.

          These GOP Trump loving rubber stampers masquerading as representatives need to be replaced, to be sure. But I can say unequivocally that, in my lifetime, these are the worst.

          People don’t need their representatives in Congress to be pi$$ing on their heads and telling them its raining and that is exactly what McSally (and the rest of them) did with Trumpcare.

          I have NEVER in my lifetime witnessed such disgraceful, deceitful representation by anyone in the Democratic party. But representatives capable of doing this are as plentiful as mosquitoes in the GOP.

          In fact, when I lived in Houston in the late 1970s I was represented by Barbara Jordan.
          Now THAT was something to be proud of.

          The Democrats have some problems, but comparing them to the Republicans especially in these times cannot be supported by the facts.

          • My goodness, Liza, my discussing democrats and their fixation on this Russian thingy has certainly set things of with you. That wasn’t my intention because I was focused on the Russian brouhaha and nothing else, but since you seem so determined to drag history into it, I will touch on it a little bit.

            I have to tell you that saying democrats are okay because the GOP is so much worse, is damning them with faint praise. You are saying the democrats are bad, but the GOP is worse, and that is not a particularly positive thing to say in support of democrats. You view democrats through rose colored glasses and fail to see all the faults they display. On the other hand, you despise the GOP and are willing to believe anything you hear, the nastier the better. The fact is that both parties are about the same. The liberal press being what it is, democrats get better press, but that’s all. But don’t let the news clippings go to your head. The democrats are just as nasty, underhanded and unscrupulous as the GOP any day. It is the nature of the beast.

            Although I could sit here and list the pecadillos the democrats have been involved with, I am really not that interested. But rest assured that the transgressions and grevous over reaches are there. No democrat wears a halo. Sorry!

          • “Although I could sit here and list the pecadillos the democrats have been involved with, I am really not that interested.”

            But you’re just interested enough to say that the transgressions of both parties are roughly equal.

            Sorry. That dog don’t hunt.

          • “But you’re just interested enough to say that the transgressions of both parties are roughly equal.

            One sentence versus several paragraphs…you do see the difference in time invested for something I have no interest in at the moment and which isn’t even part of the discussion point, don’t you?

            “Sorry. That dog don’t hunt.”

            You’re just irritated because I haven’t taken off chasing after the straw men you are trying to create in order to distract me from the subject at hand. And besides, if I did take the hour or so to respond to your straw men, you wouldn’t really read it and you would, just like “Not Tom”, ignore anything I wrote. If you did happen to read something, you would immediately go into your pre-loaded non-sequitor laden defense of democrats and continue your screed against the GOP. Been there, done that Liza…I have no interest in doing it again today. Maybe some other time.

          • Source: google.com
            straw man
            ˌstrô ˈman/
            noun
            1. an intentionally misrepresented proposition that is set up because it is easier to defeat than an opponent’s real argument.
            2. a person regarded as having no substance or integrity.

            Sorry, neither definition applies. You make general, unsubstantiated accusations which I refuted with facts (stolen SCOTUS nomination, etc…). You are no longer “interested”. I can see why but that doesn’t make my argument a straw man.

            “Both parties do bad things” is a talking point, a bumper sticker type of slogan that doesn’t mean much of anything out of context. It is not a “real argument”.

            Just sayin…

          • “Sorry, neither definition applies.”

            Well, by golly, you can color me embarassed!! I always thought a “straw man” included the definition of someone trying to distract you from the issue being discussed. I stand corrected. While I am embarassed, I appreciate your pointing my error out for me. Even after 65 years, I still learn things.

            ““Both parties do bad things” is a talking point…It is not a “real argument”.”

            You missed my point…again. I wasn’t making an argument.