The irony is surely lost no one that the guy who spent the election chanting “Lock Her Up” is now in a world of criminal trouble himself. But Michael Flynn’s role in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal has is now taking a turn that goes far beyond ironic, in a manner which nearly defies explanation. Flynn has surely spent long enough working for the government to know what happens next when you defy a subpoena.
Yet that’s the situation we now find ourselves heading into. Two months ago Michael Flynn asked for immunity in exchange for testifying in the Trump-Russia scandal. He didn’t get his wish, because it was too early in the process to be handing out blanket immunity to key subjects of the investigation. Instead the Senate Intelligence Committee decided to subpoena his relevant documents in the scandal. But now the committee is revealing that Flynn still hasn’t responded to the subpoena, though later clarifying that the deadline still hasn’t yet been reached. It’s a weird game of chicken which Flynn seems unlikely to win.
If Flynn declines to respond to the subpoena by the deadline, he’ll likely end up in a courtroom. If the judge rules that the Senate’s subpoena is valid and that Flynn must turn over the documents, and he still refuses, then what? I’ve spoken with legal experts today who have suggested that the possibilities range from the Feds raiding Flynn’s home in order to seize the documents, to Flynn being tossed in jail by the judge for contempt.
Based on his actions up to this point, I don’t believe Mike Flynn is willing to take the fall for Trump or for Russia; that ship sailed when he requested immunity. But if you look back at his campaign speeches, you see that he doesn’t appear to be a rational person. Is he willing to go to jail out of pure spite? Or is he indeed merely playing chicken, waiting until the subpoena deadline before complying, in the hope that something will change and the Senate will suddenly need his help badly enough to give him that immunity?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report