If Michael Flynn had any sense, he’d be showing contrition ahead of his sentencing, in the hope of landing the zero-month prison sentence that his cooperating plea deal calls for. If Donald Trump had any sense, he’d be staying as far away from Flynn – who already betrayed him once by cutting the deal and turning over evidence against him – as possible. Of course neither of these two men has any sense, and that’s about to come to a head.
Michael Flynn’s lawyer was already causing him trouble by floating anti-FBI conspiracy nonsense, which offended the judge in the case. Flynn decided last week to “rectify” this by replacing his lawyer with a new one who’s a dyed in the wool ant-FBI conspiracy theorist. The judge wants to know what’s going on, and has ordered all parties to appear before him this Wednesday. That’s where things could get tricky.
Flynn is still cooperating with the Feds in the criminal trial of his former business partner, so both parties are asking that Flynn’s sentencing once again be delayed. But Wednesday’s hearing is going to provide Flynn’s new attorney with her first opportunity to show up her new gameplan, which everyone expects will revolve around making deranged false accusations against the FBI. We’ve already seen that the judge in this case has zero patience for this kind of thing, so he could simply decide to sentence Flynn on the spot – and to give him a harsher sentence than the plea deal calls for.
While this situation is obviously an unpredictable one, it’s entirely possible that Michael Flynn could land himself a lengthy jail sentence this Wednesday. In such case, Flynn would turn around and ask Donald Trump for a pardon. Trump may not realize it, but this would be a lose-lose proposition for him. If Trump pardons Flynn, it’s an admission of his own guilt, and he might as well just give up on what’s left of his presidency. If Trump refuses to pardon Flynn, it’ll send a signal to Trump’s other people that no magic pardons are coming, and they should cut deals against him while they still can.
Again, for all we know, the judge could simply decide on Wednesday to grant the joint request for yet another sentencing delay, and in such case the entire Flynn story would go away for a couple months. But if Flynn’s antics-prone new lawyer tries any antics on Wednesday, this whole thing could blow up in Flynn’s face – and in Donald Trump’s face – quickly.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report