This evening Michael Flynn took the surprise step of asking the judge for yet another ninety days to continue cooperating with prosecutors. For its part, Robert Mueller’s office stated that it had no opinion on the matter, while confirming that its cooperation with Flynn is complete. So where does this get us?
Mueller is essentially taking the same position that he took ninety days ago, which is that Michael Flynn has been such a big help, he doesn’t even need to go to prison. Of course the judge didn’t like that idea at all last time around, asking aloud if Flynn had committed “treason,” and encouraged Flynn to go back and find more ways to cooperate. If Flynn had found a way to provide any additional cooperation during these past ninety days, Mueller would surely be saying so, instead of leaving him hanging.
Flynn is ostensibly asking for another ninety days because he fears the judge will throw him in prison if the sentencing happens this week, and he’s hoping something will come up along the way, where he can help some prosecutor on some case, even if it’s not Mueller. But there’s no looking past the underlying point here: despite his hugely serious crimes, Flynn helped Mueller so much, Mueller doesn’t think he should go to prison. Contrast this with Mueller’s ongoing quest to find a way to put Paul Manafort in prison for life, and to bankrupt Manafort in the process.
In other words, Robert Mueller is no pushover. He doesn’t believe in leniency for anyone, without a darn good reason. Yet even after pushback from the judge, Mueller thinks Michael Flynn’s punishment should be to go to Disney World. There’s no way Mueller sees it this way unless Flynn gave up enough evidence to take down Donald Trump and all the other biggest of fish. We may have to wait longer to learn Flynn’s fate, but I think we just learned Trump’s fate.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report