We are just getting the initial information about about this Mike Flynn charge – one count of providing a false statement to the FBI. CNN has just reported that Flynn is expected to plead guilty to this crime.
Here is some important context for understanding what is happening here.
Given everything we’ve seen reported over the last year about Mike Flynn, this is a relatively minor charge. Lying to the FBI is a serious crime, with significant penalties. In theory, Flynn faces up to five years in prison on this one count. But if the bulk of reporting on Flynn is close to correct, there’s a lot more that Mueller could have charged him with.
It certainly seems like Flynn is getting off pretty easy here, relative to what he could have been charged with. That strongly suggests a cooperation agreement and one in which Flynn agreed to and showed he was in a position to offer a lot of critical information and/or testimony.
That’s not the only possibility. Maybe there’s much less here with Flynn than we’ve been led to believe, based on press reports. But the first possibility seems much more likely.
Another key point: If the premise of significant cooperation is correct, you can only get a deal like this if you help with more significant crimes which almost always means people higher up the chain. We should resist the idea that that has to mean President Trump. But it’s a very small group of people including Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner and maybe a very few others. This is simply because Flynn was at the very top of the campaign.
ed.note: This post initially referred to two counts of providing false statements. That was incorrect. It is one count for which two examples are provided.
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