By John Delle Donne
On the first day of Christmas Bob Mueller gave to me, Mike Flynn in custody…
I kid with the sing-song parody, but the recent indictment of former national security advisor Michael Flynn is no laughing matter for the Trump administration. While Flynn is not the first casualty of special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing probe into potential Russian involvement with the 2016 presidential election, he is certainly the most high-profile arrest thus far.
Flynn pled guilty on December 1 to one count of lying to the FBI over conversations he had with the Russian ambassador. Flynn’s decision to cop a plea and cooperate with Mueller’s team shows us that the buck does not stop with the former advisor. Mueller clearly believe that there are bigger fish to fry, and Flynn’s cooperation could spell certain doom for President Donald J. Trump and those close to him.
Flynn was a card-carrying member of the Trump inner circle and played a vital role in then-Candidate Trump’s campaign efforts. Following Trump’s landmark upset victory over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, Flynn was a made man, having his pick of high profile roles within the White House.
What should come as most alarming to the Trump camp is the speed in which Flynn copped a deal. Mueller had to have him dead to rights and rather than go up the river alone, this former Trump confidant will likely sing like a canary for a more lenient sentence. But how far up does this go? To the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner? His son Donald Trump Jr.? Or does this river flow all the way to the big nacho cheese himself?
Even if Flynn’s cooperation doesn’t lead to Trump, the president’s subsequent tweet following the announcement of Flynn’s indictment and plea might be enough to damn this administration into the impeachment process.
“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI,” the president’s official Twitter account said on Saturday, December 2. “He plead guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”
It’s amazing how so many of this president’s defining moments have come from Twitter, which I will be sure to explore in a future article. But this tweet could be the one that finally cracks the Trump armor. If Trump is stating that he knew Flynn lied to the FBI when he fired him, that raises a huge question regarding former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony from June before the Senate Intelligence Committee that Trump pressed him to end the investigation into Flynn.
If, as this tweet makes it seem, that Trump was aware of Flynn’s lying to the FBI, then a request to Director Comey to drop the case could be grounds for an obstruction of justice charge against the leader of the free world.
Trump denies Comey’s testimony, bringing it up again recently and describing it as a “Comey lie.” Trump’s personal lawyer, John Dowd, has since stated that he wrote the tweet, not the president. Dowd then refused to answer follow up questions regarding whether or not the president actually read and approved the tweet, stating that he doesn’t, “feed the haters.”
So, now depending on what you believe, we have either a president who admitted to potentially obstructing justice (based on a disputed testimony from a former FBI director) or a president with such dismal control over those in his employ that a ridiculously ignorant tweet could come out of his personal account with no knowledge or consent.
Is our president corrupt, or is he inept? At this point I’m not sure which I’d prefer. This indictment and the controversy surrounding it wraps up perhaps one of the most tumultuous first years in office for any sitting president in history. (Impressive, considering Harry S. Truman’s first term began during World War 2) Whether Mueller’s investigation will lead to a Trump impeachment is a question only time can answer. But one thing is for sure, the first dominoes have fallen.
John Delle Donne is a political commentator based out of Orlando, Florida. He is excited to be a part of the diverse team at Rural Urban Divide.