New York Magazine isn’t exactly a stronghold of conservative thought and opinion in the Empire State.
Nonetheless, the publication’s Margaret Hartmann has penned quite the thought provoking and objective article regarding the recent liberal knee-jerk reaction to Mike Flynn’s lawyer making public his client is seeking some sort of immunity bargain with the government.
The following is just a handful of paragraph’s from Hartmann’s exceptional article;
On Thursday night, The Wall Street Journal reported that former national security adviser Michael Flynn is seeking an immunity deal from the FBI and the Senate and House intelligence committees in exchange for his testimony on the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia.
This sparked predicable reactions from both sides of the political spectrum. Many on the left took the “bombshell” report as an indication that Flynn intends to incriminate top White House officials. Even some Democratic lawmakers suggested the Trump administration’s days were numbered:
Trump’s campaign is under an FBI counterintelligence investigation. His former NS advisor is asking for immunity. Your move, Republicans. ????????
— Maxine Waters (@MaxineWaters) March 31, 2017
Is this the beginning of the end for Team Trump? https://t.co/1sWSkHU7rs
— Hakeem Jeffries (@RepJeffries) March 31, 2017
— Julia Brownley (@JuliaBrownley26) March 31, 2017
Meanwhile, right-wing social media immediately branded the story “fake news.” Weirdly, Flynn’s son retweeted several claims that the story was untrue, even as his father’s lawyer released a statement that seems to confirm the Journal’s report. Attorney Robert Kelner didn’t use the word immunity, but he said Flynn has had discussions with the intelligence committees, and noted no one would “submit to questioning in such a highly politicized, witch hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution.”
If Kelner was trying to shut down the wild speculation about his client, he wouldn’t have teased, “General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit.” But the move might actually suggest that Flynn’s story is less explosive than Trump’s opponents hope.
It’s not unusual for potential congressional witnesses to seek immunity, but the blog Just Security notes this isn’t the way to do it. Usually, a witness would privately outline the evidence they could offer, then Justice Department prosecutors would discuss a deal. Alex Whiting writes:
The fact that Flynn and his lawyer have made his offer publicly suggests that he has nothing good to give the prosecutors (either because he cannot incriminate others or is unwilling to do so). If he had something good, Flynn and his lawyer would approach the prosecutors quietly, go through the proffer process in confidence, and reach a deal. Why? Because prosecutors have an interest in keeping their investigation secret, and Flynn’s lawyer knows that. The last thing Flynn’s lawyer would do if he thought he had the goods would be to go public, because that would potentially compromise the criminal inquiry and would certainly irritate the prosecutors, the very people Flynn’s lawyer would be trying to win over.