This is quite a day. Robert Mueller had recommended that Michael Flynn—Donald Trump’s erstwhile National Security Advisor—serve no prison time for lying to the FBI because he had cooperated fully in their investigation. Unfortunately for Flynn, the judge wasn’t satisfied with the redacted report from Mueller and demanded to see the whole thing. He was not a happy man after he had read it. Here’s the LA Times:
Saying he was not “hiding my disgust, my disdain” for Flynn’s crime, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ripped into the retired three-star Army general in a blistering rebuke from the bench before issuing his sentence.
Noting that Flynn was an unregistered agent of a foreign country — Turkey — while in the White House, the judge angrily pointed to the furled U.S. flag in his courtroom. “Arguably, that undermines everything this flag over here stands for. Arguably, you sold your country out!” Sullivan said. “All along you were an unregistered agent of a foreign country, while serving as the national security advisor to the president of the United States!”
Pressed by the judge, Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner, said, “No, your honor,” when asked if the FBI had engaged in any misconduct or had violated Flynn’s rights when they interviewed him. Kelner added that Flynn stood by his guilty plea.
“The court’s going to consider that [i.e., that Flynn sold out his country],” the judge said. “I cannot assure you, if you proceed today, you will not receive a sentence of incarceration.” Sullivan also asked a prosecutor with the special counsel’s office whether Flynn could be charged with “treason.”
Flynn, standing straight and flanked by attorneys on either side, looked shaken, his jaw clenched. Sullivan declared a recess to let Flynn consider whether he wanted to proceed and let the judge impose a punishment, or to delay and cooperate more with the special counsel in hopes of leniency.
Flynn decided to delay his sentencing. Needless to say, this should put an end to all the nonsense from the Trump gang that Flynn had been fooled by the FBI and had no idea that it was illegal to lie to them:
Sullivan reminded Flynn he could get into “more trouble” if he were to lie in court, then asked, “Were you not aware that lying to FBI investigators was a crime?”
“I was aware,” Flynn said.
That should put an end to the nonsense. As usual, though, I assume this will do nothing to stop Fox and Rush and the rest of the noise machine from claiming that Flynn did nothing wrong and was just a victim of a liberal witch hunt.