The details of Michael Flynn’s plea deal with Robert Mueller are nothing short of brutal

Just how hard of a bargain does Robert Mueller drive? He handed what initially appeared to be a sweetheart deal to Michael Flynn, and in exchange Flynn agreed to provide evidence to incriminate Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, and other key players in the Trump-Russia scandal. But the details of that plea deal are now surfacing, and what’s stunning is just how little Mueller ended up giving Flynn when it comes down to it. This is nothing short of brutal.

Legal experts dissected the Flynn plea deal during Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show on Friday night, and I’ll spare you the legalese and boil it down to three points for you. First: Flynn’s deal only grants him leniency on the charge of lying to the FBI. If Mueller doesn’t end up liking what he sees going forward, he can still charge Flynn with other crimes. Second: Mueller now officially owns Flynn. He can make him wear a wire, or dress up like a chicken. The third bullet point is the most astounding one.

There is nothing in the plea deal which formally protects Michael Flynn Jr. By now we all know that Michael Flynn cut the deal in order to protect his son. But even that’s not guaranteed. If Mueller doesn’t like how things are going, he can go back and charge Junior with various crimes at any point. This motivates Flynn to work as hard as he possibly can to help take down the likes of Trump and Kushner, because his son is still far from officially being in the clear.

This deal offers the clearest insight yet into just how brutally effective Robert Mueller can be with his wheeling and dealing. It’s not that he’s trying to torture Michael Flynn. It’s that he wants to keep Flynn motivated to continue cooperating as emphatically as possible. It also means no one else in the Trump-Russia scandal is getting free lunch if they seek a plea deal of their own.

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