This changes things. Not because it necessarily alters the facts, although it does shed a different light on Michael Flynn’s perspective of the interview on January 24th, 2017 with the 2 FBI agents. And the “this” that changes things, is Judge Emmet Sullivan’s courtroom tirade. Here’s part of what he said:

You were an unregistered agent of a foreign country while serving as the national security adviser to the president of the United States. Arguably this undermines everything this flag over here stands for.

And yes, the judge pointed at the Flag in the courtroom as he unleashed his accusation against Flynn. The foreign country is not Russia, however. It’s Turkey, which Flynn did indeed lobby for while failing to register as a foreign agent, before becoming Trump’s National Security Advisor. Registering as a foreign agent has been more of bureaucratic form-filling exercise until lately. It has now assumed the moral weight of a felony in Judge Sullivan’s eyes.

Is the Judge legally or even politically right?

It doesn’t matter if the question is fair, unfortunately. There are surely plenty of Democrat examples of unregistered agents who got away with it because it wasn’t something that really mattered much in Washington. Call it acceptable practice to be sloppy about registering. That has now become an untenable position to take. This means far greater transparency brought to bear on foreign lobbying in America. And theoretically, who can argue with greater transparency? So, one can see a host of foreign lobbying regulations coming around the bend or being rigorously enforced if they are already in existence.

But the real question is: did Flynn’s lack of registration mean he somehow is guilty of treason? Because that’s what Judge Emmet has implied, even if he reportedly walked back his words somewhat. It’s clearly what the judge feels. If it is somehow treason, then Washington’s foreign policy establishment should start getting worried, regardless of what side of the aisle they happen to work for.

Now, let’s consider the memo on the Flynn interview that Mueller’s team just released. It’s highly redacted but it clearly shows the agents getting into the weeds of foreign policy by asking Flynn if he talked about sanctions with Russia’s ambassador during the transition period between the election and the inauguration.

Flynn’s answers were cautiously neutral and noncommittal. What ferking business are delicate foreign policy questions for a sitting National Security Advisor (who was an incoming NSA at the time of the conversations with ambassador Kislyak) to a couple of FBI agents? In other words, was Flynn obliged to answer the FBI’s questions? Would no answer have been a lie? These are impossible legal questions. But easy political ones. Comey by his attitude in that recent interview in Manhattan which I detailed in the last blog, clearly thought it was a no-win situation that a better organized administration would have never allowed to happen without a lawyer present.

And now we have a judge lambasting Flynn over his Turkey lobbying and thus somehow giving credence to the theory that he deliberately and knowingly lied in the FBI interview. Which the Mueller team has also recently insisted on. And which Flynn now has seen fit to agree with. He has no other choice at this point, really.

But in all of this tempest, there is again no real evidence of collusion with Russia. Only a failure to register as an agent of the Turkish government. Unseemly, perhaps. A little shady? Yes, it is. But talking about sanctions with the Russian ambassador as the incoming NSA is in no way collusion. As much as Mueller’s team would like the public jury – that is, voters – to think so.

Flynn is being made the scapegoat for what were perfectly acceptable practices before Trump got elected president and the collusion story was put together in order to de-legitimize his administration. And it seems to be working. Fired Deputy Director McCabe is likely grinning ear to ear. His machinations have borne fruit.

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