After months of holding out, and weeks of facing imminent arrest, Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is finally negotiating a plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Flynn will provide the kind of damning evidence that will take down Trump and his entire family. On some level this may have been inevitable. But Trump’s behavior toward Flynn, particularly of late, foolishly helped drive Flynn right into Mueller’s arms.
In hindsight, Trump’s first mistake with Michael Flynn was forcing him to resign back in February. Flynn wasn’t the only Trump administration member to have had secret communications with the Russian government during the election; he was merely the first to get caught. Trump didn’t hesitate to scapegoat Flynn in the hope of stopping the bleeding. Not only did it predictably fail to work, as the rest of the Trump-Russia scandal has continued to leak out anyway, it also set up Flynn as an eventual cooperating witness against him. But Trump took things much further than that.
Donald Trump, despite claiming to be a billionaire, has sat back and allowed Michael Flynn to sink into financial ruin as a result of mounting legal bills. Trump set up a phony reelection campaign for himself, just so he could use the fundraised money to pay his son’s legal bills. Then he got the Republican National Committee to funnel money from a Kremlin oligarch to pay his own legal bills. But Trump didn’t lift a finger to help Flynn. Moreover, when Trump did finally set up a meager legal defense fund for his advisers, his team specifically stated this week that none of the money would go to Flynn.
Maybe Donald Trump had come to conclude that Michael Flynn was going to cut a deal against him anyway, and didn’t see a point in trying to change his mind. Flynn is trying to protect his son Michael Flynn Jr, who has also been exposed to severe legal liability in the Trump-Russia scandal. Maybe Trump couldn’t have prevented Flynn from selling him out in the end. But Trump sure did everything he could to make Flynn’s decision to sell him out an easier one.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report