We all knew something was going wrong for Michael Flynn when he dumped the lawyers who had helped him land a lenient plea deal, and instead hired an anti-FBI activist as his new lawyer, only for Donald Trump to publicly congratulate Flynn on the move. The only question was whether Flynn was about to stupidly get himself in trouble, or if he’d already gotten himself in trouble. Now we know a big chunk of the answer, and it appears to involve both.
Michael Flynn is looking at zero to six months in prison, unless Judge Emmet Sullivan decides to rip up the deal and throw the book at him. It turns out Flynn has given the judge a really good reason to rip up the deal. As part of his deal, Flynn is required to testify against his former business partner, with regard to how they both acted as unregistered foreign agents. For reasons known only to him, Flynn has decided to change his story – to the point that the New York Times says prosecutors no longer feel safe having Flynn testify.
Suffice it to say that this means Flynn’s plea deal is swiftly on its way down the drain. Now Judge Sullivan is giving Flynn until Thursday to explain what’s going here. There’s just about no way Flynn can explain this to the satisfaction of Sullivan, who has already scolded Flynn severely over the crimes he’s confessed to.
This means Michael Flynn is likely headed to prison after all – and not for a short stint. Donald Trump has not so subtly been hinting that he’ll pardon Flynn, but thus far Trump hasn’t been willing to take the risk of pardoning anyone involved in his criminal scandals, instead allowing them to all rot in prison. If Flynn is betting his freedom on a Trump bailout, he’s playing a bad hand.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report