The saga of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged “collusion” between the campaign of President Donald Trump and the Russian government was supposed to take a turn this week, after the sentencing of Trump’s former national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
Flynn struck a deal with Mueller’s team to plead guilty to lying to FBI agents about what was discussed during a lawful call he had with his Russian counterpart while serving on the Trump transition team.
Despite the expectations of Democrats that Flynn would be sentenced to jail and the hopes of Republicans that he would be exonerated, the sentencing was delayed until March 13, 2019. And much of the American public is still somewhat perplexed with not only this situation, but the entire Mueller investigation.
“The confusion so many Americans have about the Russia collusion investigation is not due to anyone’s lack of intelligence, it’s done purposefully,” investigative reporter Sara Carter wrote. “It’s the muddy water that, every once in a while, releases a shiny glimmer of truth, only to have it sink back again into the swamp with more trash and debris to cover it all up.”
It’s still unclear why Flynn was under surveillance in the first place. No one has been forthcoming with evidence of any crime that was committed by him, vis-a-vis the Trump campaign. The FBI had no warrant to spy on Flynn, yet did exactly that.
House Select Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) told The Washington Post, “The big problem I see here is that you have an American citizen who had his phone calls recorded.”
Not only was Flynn under surveillance that was likely illegal, someone within the Obama administration unmasked his name and then leaked it to The Washington Post, which are actions that could bring criminal charges.
“The government had the surveillance transcripts, and it knew what Flynn had told the Russian ambassador,” journalist Joel Pollak wrote. “But the Post’s intervention was crucial in setting the trap in which to ensnare Flynn and turn him into a government witness.”
What’s even stranger is that the Post also seems to exonerate Flynn of criminal wrongdoing, reporting, “The FBI in late December reviewed intercepts of communications between the Russian ambassador to the United States and retired General Mike Flynn, national security adviser to then-President-elect Trump, but has not found any evidence of wrongdoing or illicit ties to the Russian government, U.S. officials said.”
It’s commonplace for incoming cabinet-level officials on a transition team to speak with their foreign counterparts. It’s not commonplace to record such calls, then question the U.S. official about that call—without an attorney present—on the content of those recordings, without even mentioning that those recordings exist. So, the only plausible reason former FBI Director James Comey would have sent FBI agents to visit the White House was to set a perjury trap for Flynn.
Testimony given by Comey to the House Judiciary Committee a day before Flynn’s hearing further suggests this.
During questioning by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Comey admitted that “normal practice was to coordinate an interview through the White House Counsel’s Office.” He subsequently reiterated a point he made during the previous week’s congressional testimony—the FBI took advantage of the fact that the transition team wasn’t completely in order. Comey even spoke of this highly irregular questioning, characterizing it as something they “wouldn’t have done or gotten away with” in a “more organized administration.”
The fix was in.
And many things are still murky with this investigation. Who in the Obama administration ordered the surveillance, the unmasking, and the leaking? Are those people also under criminal investigation? Why has the other agent who was present at Flynn’s questioning been prevented by the Department of Justice from giving any public statements? Why was Flynn not more forthcoming with FBI agents about a legal conversation he had with a foreign counterpart?
And, why was Flynn charged at all, considering, as The Washington Examiner reported, “Comey told lawmakers that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe that Flynn had lied to them, or that any inaccuracies in his answers were intentional?”
After the hearing ended, Flynn exited the front door of the courtroom, ushered by his entourage through a gauntlet of frenetic chaos, with protesters shouting “lock him up” and supporters screaming, “USA, USA!” As he hopped into a black SUV and was whisked away, all that America was left with was the distressing realization that we still have no evidence of Russian collusion, and yet another man has had his life ruined because of a political hit job.
Adrian Norman is a writer and political commentator.
He can be reached on Twitter @madriannorman Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.