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Special prosecutor counsel Bob Mueller has one significant scalp on the wall: that of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who pled guilty to one count of lying to the FBI and has yet to be sentenced. But, in a brilliant column, Byron York reviews the sequence of events as we have tortuously come to know them. Based on what we now know (or think we know), it is highly doubtful whether Flynn did anything wrong at all.
It is a given that there was nothing wrong with Flynn’s talking to the Russian ambassador, or discussing sanctions with him. As the incoming National Security Advisor, Flynn had many such conversations with foreign diplomats. Sanctions were a perfectly legitimate topic for them to talk about, as Stephen Hadley said:
Flynn - Issue - US - Sanctions - Russia
So even if Flynn discussed the hot issue of U.S. sanctions against Russia with Kislyak, that was OK. “I don’t have a problem with that,” former Bush national security adviser Stephen Hadley said in February 2017. “I don’t see what would be wrong if [Flynn] simply said, look, don’t retaliate, doesn’t make sense, it hurts my country, it makes it harder for us as an incoming administration to reconsider Russia policy, which is something we said we’d do. So just hold your fire and let us have a shot at this.”
And, as Byron notes, the FBI said that it found no wrongdoing in Flynn’s conversations with Ambassador Kislyak.
Problem - Earth - Flynn - FBI
So, what is the problem? Why on Earth would Flynn lie to the FBI? Maybe he didn’t:
[FBI Director James] Comey went to Capitol Hill in March to brief lawmakers privately. That is when he told them that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe Flynn had lied, or that any inaccuracies in Flynn’s answers were intentional. And that is when some lawmakers got the impression...
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