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The Flynn Fiasco


Remember Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign in disgrace? He’s back in the headlines with what looks like a desperate attempt at obtaining immunity from prosecution.

What’s going on?

Flynn was Trump’s National Security Advisor for a few weeks, until it came to light that he’d had possibly unlawful communications with the Russian ambassador before Trump took office. Over the past 24 hours, it became public that Flynn was seeking immunity in exchange for what he knows about the Trump administration’s connections to Russia. He requested this immunity from both Congress and the Justice Department. So far, the Senate Intelligence Committee has denied this request.

Why is it important?

For Flynn to seek immunity, he must have done something bad enough that he fears prison time. That’s the most conventional reading. Whether he has information that would implicate anyone else–such as Trump himself–is anyone’s guess.

The more cynical alternative is that he really doesn’t have anything more than what’s already known: a couple phone calls between himself and the Russian ambassador. In and of itself, there’s nothing illegal about that unless the contents of those conversations happen to violate federal law. Since only Flynn and the ambassador know what was said–and the ambassador isn’t talking–he could obtain immunity, reveal that he doesn’t really know anything, and kill the Russia scandal while escaping jail time for himself. It’s hard to say how likely this scenario is.

What is important is that we get to the bottom of what happened between Trump officials and Russia prior to and immediately after last November’s election. It’s entirely possible there’s nothing illegal–but this is hard to determine when the Republicans charged with investigating the issue don’t really want to find anything, since it would only damage their prospects through 2018 and 2020.

What can I do?

Continue to lean on Congress, especially members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to keep investigating. This issue can’t be allowed to die just yet. Even if there ends up being nothing to it, keeping Trump and Congress preoccupied with it helps limit the damage they can cause in other areas.

Note: I’m heading off on vacation as of this evening. Don’t expect to see any more updates until April 10th. Stay safe out there!