Michael Flynn is now facing one of those situations that no parent should ever have to face – but it’s entirely of his own doing. Flynn’s antics in the Trump-Russia scandal continue to be exposed as having been far reaching and almost cartoonish in nature. Now it’s been confirmed that his own son, Michael G. Flynn, is also a subject of the Trump-Russia investigation (link). There’s only one place this is headed, and it’ll leave Flynn with an impossible choice.
Flynn dragged his son into the Trump-Russia scandal as part of the work they both did for Flynn Intel Group. This puts the son on the hook legally for many of the crimes, including failing to register as a foreign agent, that his father has committed. Mueller is rather clearly targeting the younger Flynn as a way of pressuring the elder Flynn to flip on Donald Trump. Here’s where it gets tricky for him.
Donald Trump could theoretically promise to pardon both Michael Flynn and his son in return for remaining loyal during the Trump-Russia investigation. But it’s far from clear whether or not Trump has the constitutional grounds to pardon his own alleged co-conspirators, as no president has ever tried it. Professor Laurence Tribe stated this evening that he now fully expects Trump to be named an unindicted co-conspirator (link), which creates a problem for Trump and both Flynns.
Let’s say Flynn and his son refuse to cooperate in the investigation and are convicted of serious crimes, and then Donald Trump tries to pardon them both. If the courts rule that the pardons are unconstitutional, Flynn and his son would go to prison. Michael Flynn might be willing to take this risk in order to remain loyal to Trump – but is he willing to also risk sending his own son to prison? Mueller may have found Flynn’s soft spot.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report