It’s been three weeks since Special Counsel Robert Mueller arrested Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort and campaign adviser Rick Gates, creating the expectation that more arrests would come in rapid fashion. It’s been two weeks since the headlines declared that Mueller was about to arrest Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and his son Michael Flynn Jr – yet it still hasn’t happened. So what gives? The answer appears to be rather specific, and it’s good news for Mueller’s side.
Just as it appeared Michael Flynn’s arrest was imminent, the media added an entirely new twist to the Flynn story. Flynn has long been accused of having participated in a conspiracy to kidnap a guy in Pennsylvania. In fact former CIA Director James Woolsey, who was a Trump campaign adviser at the time, claims to have witnessed the conversation. But then came the revelation last week that the government of Turkey allegedly offered Flynn a $15 million bribe in exchange for using his position in the Trump regime to make it happen (Flynn denies all of these charges).
In the court of public opinion, participating in a kidnapping plot sounds like a serious crime no matter the motivation. But in legal terms, the addition of a bribery component changes the nature of the alleged crime entirely. It would have prompted Mueller to go back to the grand jury and seek additional more serious criminal charges.
Although Robert Mueller has proven he’s willing to be aggressive in pursuing Donald Trump’s Russia scandal, he’s also intent on doing the job correctly. The public may be impatient to see another arrest – but Mueller is more interested in getting this right. Michael Flynn’s arrest will come, and now it will be for even more serious charges. That only increases the odds Flynn will flip on Donald Trump.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report