Last week, Lt. General Michael T. Flynn stepped into a Federal courtroom and pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. The lie was denying lawful contacts with the Russian Ambassador in the month following President Trump’s election.
Most media outlets exuberantly characterized Flynn’s guilty plea as the beginning of the end for the Trump Presidency since Flynn is now ‘cooperating’ with Mueller’s team. ABC’s Brian Ross, who was more than merely euphoric, is now on suspension from his network for claiming the Flynn-Russian contacts were pre-election.
But, what does Flynn’s plea really mean for the President? The answer is the value the plea has to Mueller. For the Special Prosecutor, what is the advantage of nailing Flynn as a liar over conduct that has nothing to do with the investigation?
It seems to be a head-scratcher. After all, a prosecutor who utterly destroys the credibility of his witness has given a great gift to defense attorneys. Convicting the witness of lying is a huge credibility killer.
Then there’s the pressure Mueller put on Flynn to protect his son from Federal prosecution. Mueller announced late last month that Flynn’s offspring, Michael G., was a ‘subject’ of the investigation. Even if he were not a convicted liar, saving his son from the heavy hand of the Special Prosecutor in the plea deal pretty much destroyed Flynn’s credibility.
Obviously, Mueller was desperate to put a conviction in the win column. But, having a liar in his stable, who was also motivated to save his son, seems less than nothing.