Trouble for Flynn

Trouble for Flynn
Charges might be filed against former National Security Advisor for President Trump, Michael T Flynn and his son Michael Flynn Jr. This is part of an ongoing investigation headed..

Charges might be filed against former National Security Advisor for President Trump, Michael T Flynn and his son Michael Flynn Jr.

This is part of an ongoing investigation headed by special counsel Robert Mueller probing into Russia’s alleged interference into US elections.

Background

Michael Thomas Flynn is a retired United States Army Lieutenant General.  He was appointed by President Barack Obama as the eighteenth director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and served till 2014 in that capacity. He founded the Flynn Intel Group which has provided intelligence services for businesses and governments across the world. He was one of the most passionate advocates for Donald Trump during the Presidential campaign. He gave speeches on behalf of Trump and was highly critical of Former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. He even led chants of “Lock her up” in various occasions during Trump rallies. 

After the elections, Flynn was appointed the National Security Advisor for President Donald Trump. He served from January 20th 2017 to February 13th, 2017. He was forced to after information surfaced that he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the nature and content of his communications with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak. On April 27, 2017, the Pentagon inspector general announced an investigation into whether Flynn had accepted money from foreign governments without the required approval. 

His son Michael Flynn Jr, was for a brief period of time also his Chief of Staff. Flynn Jr was fired from his position after he posted conspiracy theories regarding Hillary Clinton. Trump has reportedly expressed his regret in letting General Flynn resign. He also reportedly requested then FBI chief James Comey to drop the investigation on Flynn as he was a “good man.” Later, Trump would fire Comey. Reports have emerged that Trump may be under investigation for obstruction of justice.

US intelligence agencies believe that Russia had interfered in the US presidential elections. In May 2017, the Department of Justice (DoJ) appointed Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee the investigation into the Russian interference and related matters. He is also investigating whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the elections. Three campaign aides including former Chairman of the Trump Presidential campaign, Paul Manafort, have been indicted. Details can be found here.

 

Analysis

According to media reports, federal investigators have collated enough evidence to bring charges against Michael Flynn and Michael Flynn Jr. This is part of the probe investigating Russia’s interference of the Presidential elections.

NBC has noted that Flynn was one of the first associates connected to the Trump campaign and administration, who came under scrutiny by federal investigators. Mueller is reportedly applying renewed pressure on the probe into Flynn in the aftermath of Manafort’s indictment. Witnesses have been called in to provide greater clarity on Flynn’s lobbying work and the kind of foreign contacts he kept during his time part of the Trump campaign. Specifically, Mueller is investigating whether Flynn played a role in removal of a chief rival of Turkish President Recep Erdogan from the U.S. to Turkey in exchange for millions of dollars. Flynn Intel Group, took $530,000 from a company based in the Netherlands that has extensive ties to the Turkish government.

As his Chief of Staff, Flynn Jr often accompanied his father during the campaign and during the transition (before he was fired). Investigators are reportedly trying to bring separate charges against him independent of his father. If the senior Flynn is charged, he would be the first current or former Trump administration official formally accused of criminal wrongdoing by investigators. Neither Flynn nor the special counsel office have publicly commented on the subject.

According to a report by the CNN, Michael Flynn is concerned about the potential legal exposure his son would face in the investigation. "The disappointment on your faces when I don't go to jail will be worth all your harassment," Flynn Jr. tweeted on Sunday, responding to his online critics. Flynn's troubles extend to Congress, where his activities have attracted the attention of the House oversight committee. The Logan Act, passed in 1799, bans private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments.

Assessment

Our assessment is that if charges are filed against Flynn then he would be the first current or former Trump administration official formally accused of criminal wrongdoing. If the former National Security Adviser is worried about his son, then he might try and cooperate with the investigators for a better deal and that would end up affecting President Trump. If Trump does pardon Flynn or his son, then it could result in grounds for impeachment. 

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