There are times in every political journalist’s life when, based on limited and circumstantial evidence, he thinks he’s figured something out. For me, this is one of those times. I don’t have an inside source on this, just a pretty good gut feeling and some publicly known facts I can point to. So I’ll go ahead and make my case for why I think Michael Flynn has already cut a deal with the FBI against Donald Trump.
Of the four Trump campaign advisers widely reported to be under FBI investigation, three of them – Paul Manafort, Carter Page, and Roger Stone – have suddenly volunteered to testify before the House Intelligence Committee (source: CNN and Washington Post). Their choice of the House, and not the Senate, seems obvious enough: the House Intel Committee is run by Trump-loyal stooge Devin Nunes. They’re probably hoping to team up with Nunes to run interference in front of the television cameras. But only one of the four Trump campaign advisers under investigation is remaining out of the dog and pony show: Michael Flynn.
Congressional hearings are essentially show-trials. The various Congressmen on the committee are each trying to make one case or another to the public. The witnesses who volunteer to testify are trying to convince the public that the scandal is not their fault. If you’re running to a committee to testify in front of the cameras, it means you’re merely playing games of appearances, and you’re not running to the FBI to offer real testimony. If Michael Flynn were running to one of these committees right now, I would assume he hasn’t cut a deal. But he’s been curiously quiet about it. In fact he’s been curiously quiet about everything throughout this scandal. And yet he’s been making definitive moves behind the scenes.
Interpreting someone’s silence is tricky business. But Flynn has been speaking, just not with words. Two weeks ago Flynn retroactively registered with the U.S. government as a foreign agent. In so doing, he essentially confessed to a past crime in an attempt to get back onto the right side of the law. If Flynn was deluded enough to think that he can beat the rap on all the felonies he’s apparently committed, the last thing he would be doing is officially admitting to one of his most severe crimes on government paperwork. Instead this is the behavior of someone who’s actively trying to come clean.
And there’s only one reason for Michael Flynn to come clean about the crimes he’s committed in relationship to the Donald Trump campaign: so the FBI can use his admitted crimes as a legal excuse to pursue the involvement of other Trump campaign members in those crimes. I’ve strongly suspected Flynn had already cut a deal with the FBI from the minute the story broke about him registering as a foreign agent. It was probably fairly easy for the FBI to convince him to go along with it, as they already have him nailed on the felony of lying to them about Russia several months ago (source: Washington Post). Now that he’s the only one of the four known campaign targets who’s not running to the Congressional committee show-trials, it seems all the more obvious. But there is one upcoming litmus test.
The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is taking its own Trump-Russia investigation far more seriously than its compromised House counterpart, is about to begin its own hearings. The witness list has yet to be announced. Manafort, Page and Stone probably won’t volunteer for this one, but they’ll be invited or subpoenaed. If Michael Flynn is not invited, it’ll be because the FBI asked the Senate committee not to trot out its real star witness in front of the cameras while he’s still working with them behind the scenes. So if the Senate subpoenas the other three but not Flynn, then I’ll know I’m right, and that Flynn has already flipped. Contribute to Palmer Report
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report