Has Michael Flynn Turned on Trump?
Harvard Professor and CNN National Security Analyst Juliette Kayem just dropped what may be the biggest bombshell in the Trump/Russia investigation yet:
— Juliette Kayyem (@juliettekayyem) March 25, 2017
Flynn, you may recall, was Trump’s handpicked National Security Advisor until he got caught lying to everyone about secretly meeting with Russia and resigned in disgrace.
If he has indeed turned on Trump, he could be the key witness the FBI needs to bring down the Trump’s Russia house of cards. As journalist Seth Abramson lays out, the FBI only “flips” suspects into witnesses to take down an even bigger target. Who is a bigger target than a sitting National Security Advisor? Only the man a minority of us elected in November.
So what evidence do we have that he’s actually flipped? At this point, not much more than Kayyem’s “sources.” (For what it’s worth, respected NY Times columnist Nicholas Kristof just tweeted that Kayyem is “smart and credible.”)
But for those who know their way around the criminal justice system, there is a bit more circumstantial evidence to suggest Flynn may be working as a witness.
Journalist Bill Palmer laid out the case in a blog yesterday. The biggest piece of evidence is Flynn’s surprise confession last month that he had worked as a foreign agent for the Turkish government in 2016. Flynn reported this work after he had already resigned. At that point, he knew he was being investigated for foreign connections. Why would someone under investigation for criminal ties to foreign governments suddenly fess up to even more ties to foreign governments? Palmer suggests its may be because Flynn was in the process of coming clean with the FBI as part of a deal to work with them in the Trump investigation.
There’s also the fact that, unlike most of the other major players in the Trump/Russia scandal so far, Flynn has been uncharacteristically quiet. Paul Manafort, Jeff Sessions, Carter Page, and Roger Stone have all defended their actions in the press. Manafort, Page, and Stone also volunteered this week to testify before the House Intelligence Committee. Palmer suggests this is because they know they face a favorable audience in the David Nunes-led committee. They’d rather take part in the House’s dog-and-pony show than answer to the real investigation going on behind the scenes (and perhaps soon in the Senate).
Meanwhile, Flynn is somewhere out there, presumably doing whatever is in his own best interest. Has he been caught so red-handed that spinning this in the press or Nunes’ committee isn’t an option for him? If so, he may have no other option but to take whatever deal the FBI offered.
Of course, at this point, all of this is rumor and conjecture. But this Russia story is moving fast. If Flynn is a witness for the FBI, expect it to move even faster. If there are connections between Trump and Russia, Flynn would know about them. If he talks, we will too.