Wednesday, December 19, 2018

D.C. Judge Bursts Flynn's Smug Bubble- And The Right's "FBI Ambush" Codswallop

Image result for Judge Sullivan cartoon images
A somber and deflated  Mike Flynn departs the D.C.   E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse yesterday  after being bitch-slapped into reality by Judge Emmet  G. Sullivan.  The Right's Fox-Limbaugh- WSJ Op-ed axis got bitch slapped too,

Rachel Maddow put it best last night, commenting on how U.S. D.C.  District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan single -handedly knocked out half of FOX News prime time content.  How?  By skewering the "FBI Ambushed  Mike Flynn" B.S. being churned out by Flynn, his lawyers and the Right's conspiracy echo chamber.  And in fact, even before all this transpired, many with IQs over room temperature digits had warned about the folly of invoking the FBI 302’s the Flynn team stupidly demanded be made public .

All this unfolded yesterday  during a tumultuous hearing at the D.C. E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse with Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn expecting a pro forma pat on the head and a sentence of only probation - no prison time.   But after Flynn's media performances the past week or so, trying to have it both ways and playing to the FOX News crowd with "FBI ambush"  bullshit, he almost ended up in the tank.

At the end of it all one beheld stunning reversals in which the judge accused Flynn of having “sold your country out”  and any formal final sentencing delayed until March - pending Mikey's further cooperation.  (And also keeping his mouth shut about FBI traps!)    Judge Sullivan  was  clearly livid about Flynn's duplicity and seized on a dubious argument his legal team had made in a sentencing memo. While Flynn accepted guilt, the memo said, he had not been advised before an FBI interview that lying to the agents was illegal.

Bear in mind this was a retired three-star general whose military career spanned 33 years including the national security service,  and  working in concert with the FBI.  (As former CIA head John Brennan pointed out last night on  'All In')  And now, wowza! We  are expected to buy into the codswallop that he got "ambushed"  or "trapped"?  Or - get this - the FBI "lied" to Flynn about the interview's purpose (WSJ editorial today, 'The Flynn Fiasco', p. A18).   But this is exactly the twaddle the Right's conspiracy twits, including the WSJ's editors,  have been pumping up the past 2 weeks or so.

As Exhibit A I point to the recent WSJ editorial 'The Flynn Entrapment' (Dec. 14) wherein the joker who scribbled it actually claimed - presumably with a straight face and not after an MJ overdose - that poor little Mikey was "trapped" by them nasty G-men and not properly appraised of his rights or the risks of lying.  Any normal editorial staff would be ashamed to pen such arrant babble but I doubt Rupert Murdoch's clowns barely blinked - especially as they were likely under orders to churn out bunkum in parallel with the uber clowns on FOX News (e.g. Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham et al)  peddling the same rot.

But after yesterday's ball -busting takedown of Flynn and his lawyers they all ought to be hanging their heads.  Why? Because Judge Sullivan  openly expressed doubt that Flynn had really accepted his guilt after all,  given he'd been peddling that "FBI ambushed me" nonsense with his lawyers.   More insidiously, in raising the possibility of misconduct by the FBI investigators, Flynn and his crank idiot supporters further fueled efforts by Trump and his own criminal cabal to undercut the credibility of the special counsel’s investigation.  

Judge Sullivan actually had to ask Flynn’s lawyer, Rob Kelner, at one point,  whether he believed Flynn was entrapped by the FBI. Kelner, maybe not Mensan material but bright enough to see the peril his client was in (and likely dismissing the WSJ editorial he'd read) responded quickly:  No, your honor!” 

The Judge then turned to Flynn and asked whether he was aware that lying to the FBI was illegal.    Flynn, now conscious of the new legal jeopardy his FOX- PR antics had wrought,   replied: “I was aware.”  (As part of his plea deal, Flynn admitted he had lied to FBI agents about discussing U.S. sanctions on Russia with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador at the time, during the presidential transition. Flynn also denied conversations he had with Kislyak about a UN security council resolution condemning Israel.)

You can be sure now with the 3 months interim allotted before sentencing, that Emmet Sullivan will have his wary eye on this misfit and whether he shoots his mouth off again about being "entrapped".  But don't look for the Right's bozos to follow suit.  One particular idiot from Naples, FL (Tim Kelly)  actually claimed in a WSJ letter to the editor yesterday that because the FBI already had a transcript of the conversation between Flynn and Kislyak there was no proper justification for questioning Flynn about it.  Making one wonder which turnip truck this yokel tumbled out of.  I mean, this turkey actually wrote:

"Simply asking a person what he said at a meeting when the investigator has a transcript of the meeting isn't legitimate investigation. It is an effort to trap that person."

Whereupon wifey and I both concluded Kelly either had shit for brains, or left his brains up his ass - maybe in the midst of an MJ high.  Clearly this nitwit has no concept of investigatory procedures, or that Robert Mueller himself has all the answers he needs (from documents, recordings, other interviews, e.g. with Flynn and Cohen) before even receiving the recent answers from Dotard Trump, Manafort, Stone and the other members of the Trump Mafia.  Not entrapment, but ascertaining the breadth of the cretin's lies. 

Incredibly, despite Flynn and his legal team fessing up that Flynn lied and there was no  sinister FBI trickery or skullduggery, the WSJ's editorial idiots continue to pound this bollocks. Writing in today's editorial (ibid.):

"Yes, as we've written, Mr. Flynn had no incentive to lie to the FBI agents who interviewed him in January, 2017. about  his contact with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Those talks were legal and normal for a new national security adviser......Government documents suggest the FBI lured the former general into a meeting without a lawyer, never making it clear Mr. Flynn himself was under investigation".

Seriously?   Even as I retype this bilge from the editorial page I cannot believe what I am seeing.   If Flynn had no incentive to lie, then why did he lie?  The only basis would be what the legal cognoscenti refer to as "consciousness of guilt".   Flynn, the Putin Puppet, knew damned well he had something nefarious in his closet and was conscious of it, felt guilt about it - hence the need to conceal it.  As Judge Sullivan got the doofus to admit, but which the WSJ's nabobs can't seem to register.   As to the nonsense about "other documents" showing the FBI lured Flynn into a meeting, this refers to the FBI 302 account and those interested can read how that was dispatched in the earlier blue link.

Beyond all this, the Judge wasn't done with this forlorn ape - the same fool who helped spread the "Pizzagate"  B.S. about Hillary in the fall of 2016.  That was the gibberish that she was keeping child sex slaves in the basement of a D.C. pizza parlor - even provoking one right wing nut to show up there with weapons -  retribution on his febrile brain.  In a lacerating lecture, to put it mildly, Sullivan unloaded on the whole panoply of Flynn's transgressions - even pointing to the flag at one point- and how Flynn's actions had dishonored it.

By this point the hearing had taken a disastrous turn for Flynn – and by extension Dotard – as Sullivan, who was first appointed to the bench by Ronald Reagan in 1984, issued a stern condemnation of Flynn’s conduct.
I am going to be frank with you. This is a very serious offense. A high-ranking senior official of the government making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation while on the physical premises of the White House.”
You were an unregistered agent of a foreign country while serving as the national security adviser to the president,” Sullivan continued, referring to secret payments Flynn had taken from an agent for the government of Turkey. “Arguably, this undermines everything this flag over here stands for. Arguably, you sold your country out.”
Flynn further admitted to failing to file as a foreign agent for the government of Turkey and making misleading statements when he did file. A company headed by Flynn took in $530,000 in payments from a businessman connected with the Turkish government in exchange for Flynn’s failed efforts to get the US government to extradite the cleric Fethullah Gülen, prosecutors demonstrated.  

Of course, the WSJ's miscreants also weighed in on this issue (ibid., today) with the FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act).  The editor(s) daftly claimed it wasn't cricket for the Judge to launch out on his jeremiad ("extreme rhetoric") on this issue given the Special Counsel never charged him under the act. Doesn't matter, the Judge - given he has all the original (non-redacted) documents, has leeway to go one better than Mueller if he so decides.   

This is why legal specialist Daniel S. Goldman, writing in The Washington Post, observed the Judge's real rebuke was probably for Mueller, for failing to tack on the FARA charge. See e.g.

Yes, Flynn pushed his luck. But the judge's real ... - Washington Post
As Goldman explains (ibid.) 

"According to Department of Justice policy, prosecutors are generally required to charge defendants with the most serious offense supported by the evidence, with limited exceptions. This is particularly important with cooperating witnesses. It is essential they accept responsibility for all of their crimes, both for the proper administration of justice and because it is simple trial practice. For example, in the Southern District of New York, where I worked as a prosecutor for 10 years, cooperating witnesses were required to plead guilty to every federal felony crime they ever committed, even if the prosecutor did not have sufficient independent evidence to charge all of the crimes. The benefit to the cooperating defendant in federal court is a reduction in sentence, not a reduction in charges, as often occurs in state court.

Yet in the case of Flynn, the special counsel’s office allowed Flynn to plead guilty to less serious crimes than his conduct merited under DOJ policy, and thereby reverse-engineered an advisory sentencing range of zero to six months under the federal guidelines. Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of making two sets of false statements to FBI special agents related to Russian sanctions and a U.N. Security Council Resolution. Notably, Flynn’s statement of offense included relevant conduct related to false statements Flynn made in filings about his consulting work for the Turkish government, but he did not plead guilty to any crimes connected to that conduct."

Even after the day's drama and Flynn and his lawyers fessing up to lies and  disingenuous PR moves, inbred mouthpiece Sarah Huckleberry Sanders insisted Flynn had been wronged. “What we do know,” she chirped, “is that the F.B.I. broke standard protocol in a way that they came in and ambushed General Flynn and in the way that they questioned him and in the way that they encouraged him not to have White House Counsel’s Office present.”

Please, Sarah Huck, stuff it where the Sun don't shine.  Oh wait! Better not or you'll displace your brain.  Although Judge Sullivan has a reputation for being hard on government misconduct, he found no fault with the conduct of the F.B.I. or prosecutors. He said Flynn deceived not only F.B.I. agents, but also senior White House officials, who then repeated his lies to the American public.

However, by now, every manjack and his monkey ought to know what are lies, and what constitutes the truth regarding Flynn and his FBI interview. And it is beyond pathetic Sarah Sanders continues to pump out the 'FBI did it'  lies at every press briefing- and with a straight face to boot. It must be in her DNA like the other fools trapped in the FOX echo chamber.

Flynn left the court without making a statement. Wise move!  Demonstrators outside the courthouse chanted “USA! USA!”, in protest of Flynn,  and held aloft signs reading "Putin's Puppet"  as he got into his vehicle.  Sullivan agreed to delay the sentencing, with a status hearing scheduled for 13 March.  Meanwhile, Dotard the other Putin puppet tweeted like the mutt he is: "No collusion!”  Well, no, but there was a criminal conspiracy.

Personally, I believe Flynn ought to get at least three years - same as Cohen - not only for his crimes and lying but also peddling that horse manure about FBI entrapment.  Lies that sought to undermine Mueller's probe and pump up the Right's insane CTs like Kimberley Strassel and Sean Hannity.   As far as I can see, his antics in spinning this victimization yarn cancel out whatever "cooperation" he delivered.  But hey, I am willing to give him a break if he gets the WSJ's nabobs, Hannity and the other clowns to shut up about his "entrapment".  Oh, and also comes out and boldly criticizes the conspiracy crappola they're pushing!

No comments: