If Mike Flynn Pleads The Fifth, Will Congress Lock Him Up?
Would this guy lie?
CLUTCH THE PEARLS! General Michael "Lock Her Up" Flynn has invoked his Fifth Amendment right to shut the fuck up for once and told the Senate he won't be turning over those documents it subpoenaed from him two weeks ago. We are FOR SHOCKED that the guy who shouted, "If I did a tenth, a tenth of what she did, I would be in jail today!" turned out to be a big old criminal!
The guy could at least try to avoid winding up on an FBI "wire tapp" every damn time he breaks the law. Maybe instead of criming all the time, the General should switch to bowling, or sudoku, or filching bread from the kitchen and sculpting it into figurines using his own spit as glue. Because Michael Flynn is in deep shit. And since the Senate (and the House, and the FBI) already laughed his ass out the door when he asked for an immunity deal, he should probably start looking for a fun, new jailhouse hobby.
Don't worry, Mike - you'll work up to it. (Photo credit: Daily Mail)
Within the past week, news emerged that Donald Trump regrets firing Flynn. He thinks Flynn is a "good man," who served his country honorably, with some exceptions. Trump even sent him a love note telling him to "stay strong," because Donald Trump DGAF about obstruction of justice. He'll be bragging about that shit to Lester Holt tomorrow!
So here is a partial account of Michael Flynn's international crime spree. A full list would probably crash our server, which is already GRRRRR CRANKY anyway.
No Russia! No Russia! Mike Flynn's the Russia!
Michael Flynn and his best pals
During the campaign and transition, Michael Flynn was having all the phone sex with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. But their relationship was on the DL, so Flynn left it out of his disclosures to the transition team and the FBI.
He also forgot to mention that he'd promised the Russians he'd lift those annoying sanctions imposed by the Obama administration after their Ukrainian funtimes. Ooopsie!
And who even cares about the paltry $45,000 he received to appear on Russian TV, right? Mike Flynn is a GENTLEMAN! He doesn't kiss and tell!
Afternoon Turkish Delight
Flynn's amnesia extended to the $500,000 he was paid to lobby for the Turkish government as well. Which is one hell of an extension! Luckily, he left little a trail of breadcrumbs for federal investigators.
Like an election-day piece in The Hill titled "Our Ally Turkey is in Crisis and Needs Our Support." And finding a roomful of witnesses to his “open-ended thinking on the subject” of kidnapping Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen and handing him over to Erdogan's goons.
And telling Susan Rice on January 10 that the US should NOT go ahead with its plan to arm the Kurds and take Raqqua back from the Islamic State. Sure, Mike Flynn hates ISIS. But not as much as his Turkish employers hate the Kurds, so the invasion got nixed.
Also, Michael Flynn kicks puppies, tailgates, and doesn't wash his hands after making Number Two. PROBABLY.
So, Cage Match in the Senate, Right?
FLASHBACK — Mike Flynn: “When you are given immunity, that means that you've probably committed a crime” @MeetThePresspic.twitter.com/yJanur7NSl
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) March 31, 2017
Unlike Flynn's bestie Erdogan, the Senate doesn't go around beating people up -- not even thugs like Mike Flynn. Last month, the Senate sent Flynn a letter instructing him to pony up his Russia papers, rightnowplease. But Flynn just bitchbuttoned them. So then they subpoenaed the documents to give him a little motivation to fork them over. There is also a federal case in the Eastern District of Virginia where US Attorney Dana Boente has issued subpoenas for Flynns docs. He's a popular guy!
For the past two weeks, Flynn's lawyers have been using the "New phone, who dis?" stalling tactic, but today they finally told Senator Richard Burr and his merry band of Select Committee Pranksters that General Lockherup was pleading the Fifth and won't be giving them the documents on his three-way with Turkey and Russia. Guess he really is "staying strong" like the Donald told him to.
Irony of ironies, the controlling Supreme Court case in the matter arose from Bill Clinton aide Webster Hubbell's refusal to produce documents in response to a subpoena from the Independent Counsel in the Whitewater investigation. The Court ruled that the subpoena was so broad that it violated Hubbell's Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination by forcing him to confess his own guilt. So, under United States v. Hubbell, 530 U.S. 27 (2000), a subpoena that orders Flynn to produce notes on a conversation he had with Susan Rice on January 10 would be fine, but one that said, "Give us everything you got on conversations with the Russians that you illegally failed to disclose!" would probably fail.
Go follow @steve_vladeck on Twitter right now!
Assuming that Flynn was as stupid about recordkeeping as he was about committing crimes on an open phone line, the Senate can probably craft a subpoena more specific than, "Tell us EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW!" So what can Richard Burr do since Flynn just gave him a giant middle finger? Time for a little Monday morning lawsplainer. Hooray!
The good people at Lawfare, PBUT, broke it down for us. There are basically three options.
The full Senate could act as a court itself and hold its own contempt hearings. This hasn't happened for 75 years, though, and it sure isn't happening now with that fossilized turtle Mitch McConnell in charge.
More likely, the Committee could refer Flynn's criminal contempt case to the Department of Justice for prosecution. Now, here's where it gets tricky, because no one knows exactly which branch of the Justice Department is the designated hitter here. Would the case go to Rod Rosenstein, standing in for Jeff Sessions who had to recuse himself? Or would it go to Special Counsel Robert Mueller? Or maybe it would wind up with Dana Boente in Virginia, since he already has active subpoenas in the Flynn case? Because the Senate's referral is non-binding, whichever attorney receives the referral could also just decline to pursue it. Who can be sure that Sessions wouldn't un-recuse himself and decide not to prosecute Flynn for contempt? These sumbitches already tried to kill the investigation by firing Comey, so who knows what they'd do!
The Senate's third option is to get its own lawyers from the Senate Office of Legal Counsel to sue Flynn in federal court to enforce the subpoenas. If he refused to produce, then the Court could find him in contempt and....LOCK HIM UP!
Whatever happens, you know Republicans are going to drag this shit out forever. So, buckle in for a long, bumpy ride. The fun is just getting started!
[WaPo / Lawfare / CNN / Lawfare, again / McClatchy / US v. Hubbell]
AND IT'S ONLY MONDAY! This shit is crazy! Send us money!
Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.