The Betrayal of General Mike Flynn

He acted as an agent of Russia. He colluded with the Kremlin to rig the 2016 presidential election. He turned on his country by attempting to undermine U.S. foreign policy. He purposely misled the vice president. He had an extramarital affair with a Russian asset. He is a liar.

Those are just some of the accusations that have been leveled against Lt. General Michael Flynn for nearly four years. Flynn, a three-star U.S. Army general with tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, made the mistake of crossing the Obama White House; he’s been suffering the consequences ever since.

And the country he heroically served for decades, for the most part, betrayed him. From the U.S. Justice Department to the president of the United States to the federal court system to his own lawyers, Flynn has been deceived at every turn in what certainly is one of the most tragic miscarriages of justice in recent political history.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the leadership of the villainous James Comey, began targeting Flynn shortly after he was fired by then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for his outspoken criticism of the Obama Administration’s approach to Islamic terrorists.  

“It infuriates me when our president bans criticism of our enemies, and I am certain that we cannot win this war unless we are free to call our enemies by their proper names: radical jihadis, failed tyrants, and so forth,” Flynn explained in an op-ed about why he was fired in 2014. “With good leadership, we should win. But we desperately need good leaders to reverse our enemies’ successes.”

That column was published in the New York Post on July 9, 2016. Three weeks later, the FBI launched an official probe into Flynn, Obama’s former Defense Intelligence Agency chief, and three others for allegedly colluding with Russia to rig the election in favor of Donald Trump, whose campaign Flynn was advising at the time.

Calculated Moves

After campaigning for Trump in 2016 and leading chants of “lock her up” during the Republican National Convention, Flynn rose to the top of Obama’s Chicago machine-style political hit list. During a post-election meeting in the Oval Office, Obama warned Trump not to hire Flynn as his national security advisor. Trump didn’t heed his advice—and Flynn and Trump both have paid a steep price.

Using their functionaries in the news media, the Obama White House and their loyalists in the Justice Department concocted a scheme to destroy Flynn’s career. The ruse would involve phone calls between an Obama-friendly Russian ambassador (he visited the Obama White House twice in October 2016), Sergei Kislyak, and Trump’s incoming national security advisor. After Obama ordered weak sanctions against Russia for “attacking” our election, Kislyak desperately tried to reach Flynn in December 2016 to discuss how the sanctions would be handled by the incoming Trump Administration in hindsight seems like a calculated move.

The conversation would serve as the pretext to accuse Flynn of violating the Logan Act, a law that forbids private citizens from undermining U.S. foreign policy decisions. No one ever has been prosecuted under the 1799 statute.

“They tormented him, they destroyed him,” President Trump said of his former aide. “But he’s going to come back bigger and better.”

An Obama official leaked the Flynn-Kislyak conversation to the Washington Post in January 2017 to perpetuate the unfolding Russian collusion narrative. (Disclosing classified government information is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The leaker has not yet been charged.)

A few days after Inauguration Day, Comey bypassed protocol to ambush Flynn in the White House. 

“In the George W. Bush Administration or the Obama Administration . . . if the FBI wanted to send agents into the White House itself to interview a senior official, you would work through the White House counsel, there would be discussions and approvals and who would be there,” Comey told Nicolle Wallace in December 2018. “And I thought, it’s early enough, let’s just send a couple guys over. We placed a call to Flynn, said ‘hey we’re sending a couple of guys over, hope you’ll talk to them.’ He said, ‘sure.’ Nobody else was there.”

Flynn was unaware the January 24, 2017 discussion was an interrogation. He met with the agents—one was Peter Strzok—in an informal setting without counsel. (Strzok re-opened the formal investigation into Flynn even after the FBI closed the case against him, a bombshell disclosure revealed Thursday.)

The agents did not notify Flynn that he was under investigation or remind him of his legal rights; Flynn viewed the agents not as investigators but as allies attempting to find out more about Russia’s election interference efforts. 

The impromptu meeting, however, sealed Flynn’s fate.

Chicanery and Leaks

The release of critical documents in Flynn’s ongoing court case, thanks to the tenacity of his new lawyer, Sidney Powell, proves the fix was in. According to handwritten notes taken after the meeting, FBI officials pondered the desired outcome. “What is our goal?” the note reads. “Truth/admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired.”

That question would be answered a few days later when Sally Yates, the acting attorney general and Obama holdover, visited Trump’s lawyer to push the Logan Act scheme and warn that Flynn was “compromised with respect to the Russians” and might be subject to blackmail by the Kremlin.

When Yates’ chicanery failed to oust Flynn, several officials illegally leaked details of the Flynn-Kislyak call to the Post. On February 9, 2017, the paper reported that Flynn discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador despite his public denials.

Amid pressure, Flynn resigned four days later. “Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President-Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador,” Flynn wrote in his February 13, 2017 resignation letter. “I have sincerely apologized to the President and the Vice President, and they have accepted my apology.”

The bad guys had their first Trump-Russia collusion scalp. 

In May 2017, following Comey’s firing, Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel. In December 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to making a false statement to federal investigators during the January 24, 2017 ambush interview.

But even that plea deal is tainted. Flynn’s former lawyers, according to recently released documents, made a secret side deal with the special counsel’s office to extract the plea deal in exchange for not pursuing Flynn’s son. (Flynn is petitioning the court to vacate his plea. He has not yet been sentenced.) 

Now the court is demanding that Flynn’s former law firm produce all correspondence with the Justice Department after the firm “suddenly” discovered thousands of pages of evidence they had been withholding.

Finally, after a three-year nightmarish journey, Flynn may find justice. “They tormented him, they destroyed him,” Trump said of his former aide on Thursday. “But he’s going to come back bigger and better. What they did to General Flynn and others was a disgrace.”

A disgrace, indeed. And a wholesale betrayal of a man who has served his country admirably. He deserved better.

About Julie Kelly

Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. She is the author of Disloyal Opposition: How the NeverTrump Right Tried―And Failed―To Take Down the President Her past work can be found at The Federalist and National Review. She also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, and Genetic Literacy Project. After college graduation, she served as a policy and communications consultant for several Republican candidates and elected officials in suburban Chicago. She also volunteered for her local GOP organization. After staying home for more than 10 years to raise her two daughters, Julie began teaching cooking classes out of her home. She then started writing about food policy, agriculture, and biotechnology, as well as climate change and other scientific issues. She graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1990 with a degree in communications and minor degrees in political science and journalism. Julie lives in suburban Chicago with her husband, two daughters, and (unfortunately) three dogs.

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

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