Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Screw Tightens

The house of Trump is in danger of crumbling as the 'king' sits precariously atop a construction of lies, collusion and foreign intrigue.  Michael Flynn, the former Trump national security advisor of a few days, has halted talks with Trump's lawyers indicating he may be on the verge of turning state's evidence,  The New York Times reports.  The paper cites four unnamed sources involved in the case. This is the strongest signal so far that his defenders are cutting a deal with Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating the allegations of collusion with Russian officials to interfere with the 2016 election.  To continue such communications after negotiating a deal with prosecutors would be a prohibited conflict of interest for defense attorneys.

Flynn and his son are assumed to have significant criminal exposure.  Cooperation would help them achieve more lenient treatment. As the head of Trump's transition team for dealing with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he is in a unique position to provide information on the President's chaotic attempts to put together a government administration.  His connections in Russia predate the campaign; he was seen sitting with Putin at a Moscow event in 2015.   Flynn's possible defection is extremely bad news for Trump's defense team because he was of greater statute than those previously indicted: George Manafort, former campaign chairman and Rick Gates, a campaign aide. Although the White House has denied that the former general has any incriminating evidence against the President.  George Papadopoulos, a former lower level foreign policy advisor, is already cooperating with the special counsel investigation.

Flynn's troubles began when he lied to FBI interviewers about the nature of his discussion with Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak.  His false statements about the meeting to Vice President Pence led to his dismissal as national security advisor after only one month in office.  Flynn's legal problems multiplied when investigators discovered he failed to list Russian entities on his financial disclosure forms.  He also belatedly disclosed a $500,000 payment from the Turkish government after leaving the White House, leading to questions about whether he was an unregistered secret agent for a foreign government during the campaign.  Flynn's high profile dismissal caused President Trump to ask former FBI director James Comey to end the government's investigation of Flynn's activities.  Comey contemporaneously composed a memo about the improper request after meeting alone with the President.