The criminal cabal that was the Trump campaign (and is now the Trump administration) is in shambles. With multiple people facing prison time due to illegal activities, and at least two testifying on behalf of the state, it’s clearly a matter of time until the biggest names involved are dropped and the truth comes out.
Michael Flynn, who has pled guilty to charges of lying to the FBI that stem from actions taken on behalf of the Trump campaign, is in particularly deep trouble. Because much of his professional business was done with his son, it’s thought by many that Mueller has an ace up his sleeve when it comes to Flynn – he has not yet charged Flynn Jr., who could potentially face identical charges as his father (and more, without a similar plea deal).
If prosecutors brought charges on the state level, rather than federal, those charges would be beyond the reach of a Trump pardon. The position Flynn is in is clear: if he refuses to cooperate, his son will go down.
Yet that hasn’t stopped family members from asking Trump for a pardon. Earlier today, Michael Flynn’s brother, Joseph Flynn, replied to a tweet by Trump requesting a pardon for his brother.
‘In a since deleted tweet, Joseph Flynn said Trump must get the former Army general off the hook for his December 1 guilty plea stemming from his contacts with the former Russian ambassador. The plea deal is a part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible coordination with the Trump campaign.
‘“About time you pardoned General Flynn who has taken the biggest fall for all of you given the illegitimacy of this confessed crime in the wake of all this corruption,” Joseph Flynn tweeted, though the post was deleted after about 15 minutes.
‘Flynn’s tweet came after Trump posted his own miniscreed on Twitter complaining about Mueller’s probe, among other things.’
Newsweek also captured the tweet, which you can see below:
Somebody should let Joseph Flynn know that lying to the FBI, much like obstruction of justice, doesn’t require wrongdoing in the first place. If you do something perfectly legal and lie to law enforcement officers about it, impeding their investigation, the lie itself is a criminal act regardless of the legality of the original act. Whether or not officials on the Trump campaign were originally engaged in criminal activity is still a point of contention and the root cause of the investigation – but crimes along the way, particularly lying to the FBI and obstruction of justice, are extremely clear.
In short, there’s nothing “illegitimate” about Flynn’s confession. He pled because he is 100 percent guilty of lying to the FBI, and because his son probably is as well.
A pardon for Flynn at this stage would also be incredibly dumb, to say the least. There’s a couple reasons for that. Number one, it would look like Trump was trying to save his own skin and would make him seem guilty of, well, everything. Number two, pardoning Flynn doesn’t stop him from testifying against Trump. Especially if he was granted a broad pardon that cleared him of uncharged crimes. The prevailing legal theory is that if you have been pardoned of a crime, you can be compelled to testify as a witness – after all, self-incrimination, which the Constitution protects you from, no longer applies.
The desperation of Flynn’s family is palpable, and incredibly interesting.
Featured image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images