Michael Flynn, the one-time National Security Advisor to President Trump and long-time Army General, pleaded guilty in 2017 to charges that he lied to the FBI about whether he had spoken with a Russian ambassador during Trump’s presidential transition.
Now, with a new group of lawyers, Flynn is trying to change his guilty plea and have his prison sentence reconsidered.
On Wednesday, a federal judge unsealed a set of documents provided to Flynn’s lawyers that could provide them with ammunition to attack the FBI’s handling of the case.
One of the documents in question is a handwritten note, apparently written by an unknown FBI official, regarding the bureau’s interview with Flynn. It says, “What’s our goal? Truth/Admission or get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?” Elsewhere is written, “we have a case on Flynn + Russians.”
While it is unknown who wrote the note, and how much of an impact it had on Flynn’s ultimate conviction, his new legal team is capitalizing on the bizarre correspondence to prove that certain members of the FBI had a political motive to punish Flynn. This defense feeds into a narrative that President Trump has long woven about a “deep state” made up of lifelong Washington employees who have conspired to delegitimize his presidency.
Late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, Trump unleashed a hailstorm of tweets about the situation, playing to his base by calling former FBI head James Comey a “dirty cop” and implying that his former National Security Advisor had been framed by tweeting “What happened to General Michael Flynn, a war hero, should never be allowed to happen to a citizen of the United States again!”
This Flynn story has been a rare opportunity for the President to rage against perceived adversaries in a time obsessed with a pandemic that has boxed him in. Still, regardless of the motives of some in the FBI, if Flynn had contact with the Russians and then lied about it to federal authorities, is he not still guilty? That’s the legal question.
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