Pleading guilty to one charge of making false statements to FBI agents, 58-year-old former National Security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn ends his legal battle with Special Counsel former FBI Director Robert Mueller. Flynn pled guilty to telling FBI agents he said nothing substantive to former Russian Amb. Sergey Kislyak, other than logistical issues related to a future meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. FBI recorded Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak verbatim, wiretapping Kislyak as part of “incidental data collection” on foreign officials. When the FBI unmasked the conversations, they found Kislyak talking to incoming National Security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn. No one knows yet who authorized the “unmasking,” allowing the National Security Agency or FBI to record Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak.
Flynn was fired Feb. 13 by President Donald Trump for allegedly lying to Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. Why Flynn panicked and didn’t tell the FBI the truth of his conversations with Kislyak isn’t known. What’s known for sure is that his conversations had zero to do with collusion for the purpose of obtaining dirt on former Democratic nominee Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. “I had to fire Gen. Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide,” Trump tweeted Dec. 1. Trump questioned, like so many others, why Flynn wouldn’t admit he had substantive conversations with Kislyak after former President Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats Dec. 30, 2016, slapping Moscow with new sanctions.
After more than six months of investigations at a cost of over $5 million in taxpayer dollars, Mueller indicted former Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates Oct. 30 for consulting work in the Ukraine in 2006—10 year before Trump’s campaign. Somehow Mueller’s mandate got stretched to investigating financial activity unrelated to the 2016 campaign. Also pleading guilty Oct. 30 was Trump foreign policy advser George Papadopoulos for lying to FBI agents about when he tried to set up a meeting with Russian officials. Papadopoulos said it occurred before he joined the campaign, something Mueller proved false. Neither Manfort nor Papadopoulos pled guilty to colluding with Russia. “Absolutely no collusion,” Trump told reporters before departing the White House, after winning a big Senate vote on tax reform at 2: 00 AM Dec. 2.
Flynn’s guilty plea, and all the speculation leading up to it, caused the Dow Jones Industrials to plummet more than 300 points before recovering most of its losses Friday. Las Vegas odds-makers ratchet up Trump’s impeachment odds, despite the fact that Trump’s actions were not impeachable. Today’s Russia hysteria in the media makes any conversation with anyone Russian an act of treason. When Trump said Flynn did nothing wrong other than lying to FBI agents, he’s 100% right. Incoming presidents have every right to contact anyone they please, including Russian officials. In Washington’s Russia hysteria, Flynn assumed that anything Russian, including speaking to the ambassador was a criminal act. Flynn spoke to Kislyak when lame duck former President Barack Obama evicted 35 Russian diplomats, slapping Russia with new sanctions for alleged meddling in the 2016 campaign.
U.S.-Russian relations hit rock bottom Dec. 30, 2016 when Obama hit Russia with new sanctions. Trump’s transition team attempted to defuse what looked like as serious crisis. Flynn talked to Kislyak in an effort to stave off retaliatory measures. Wiretapped conversations with Kislyak Dec. 30, 2016 proved that Flynn did his utmost to deal with an Obama-caused U.S.-Russia crisis. Flynn did nothing more than to ask Kislyak to show patience during the transition until Trump was sworn in Jan. 20, 2017. Trump was slammed by the media for telling Putin he was wise not to jump the gun and retaliate against U.S. diplomats in Moscow. When you consider Obama had one month left in his term, it was outrageous to evict 35 Russian diplomats and slap Moscow with new sanctions. Instead of commended for a job well done in the transition, Flynn was accused of Russian collusion.
When asked whether or not he was worried about Flynn’s plea and cooperation with Mueller, Trump showed no concern. “What has been shown is no collusion, no collusion,” Trump told reporters, scrambling to make sense of Flynn’s guilty plea. “There’s been absolutely no collusion, so we’re very happy. And frankly last night was one of the biggest nights,” said Trump, referring to his victory with tax reform. Passing the first major tax reform since President Ronald Reagan in 1986, Trump upended the media narrative of legislative failure. Whether or not Democrats reject the legislation, tax reform is the law of the land with Trump getting the credit. Flynn’s guilty plea speaks volumes that Mueller only goes after low-hanging fruit. Whether Trump or his son-in-law Jared Kushner told Flynn to contact Russia is of no consequence. There’s nothing illegal about contacting foreign governments.