As most of the nation sat down to Thanksgiving dinner, The New York Times detonated a potential bombshell that suggests the investigation into Russia’s effort to hack the election has entered a new phase. Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has stopped sharing information with Donald Trump’s lawyers–raising the prospect that Flynn is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller or is about to do so.
Flynn’s legal team had been discussing details of the investigation with Trump’s legal team for some time. However, according to four people close to the matter, Flynn’s lawyers recently terminated that agreement–a suggestion that, at the very least, Flynn is negotiating a deal with Mueller. If Flynn’s lawyers were to continue working with Trump’s lawyers while at the same time sounding out Mueller for a plea deal, it would be an astronomical conflict of interest.
Anyone who has followed this story closely knows that Flynn has a lot to answer for. He was pushed out of the administration after being caught lying about a conversation he’d had with Moscow’s ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. As it turns out, he made that call after being warned that Kislyak was being monitored by American intelligence. Mueller is also investigating a sit-down Flynn had with Kislyak and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in the weeks before Trump took office.
Since Flynn’s ouster, we have learned that Flynn didn’t disclose payments from a number of Russia-linked companies. Flynn also may have some explaining to do for matters unrelated to Russia. Mueller’s investigators are looking into Flynn’s ties to Turkey; he admitted this spring that Turkey paid him over $500,000 during the campaign. Specifically, Mueller is looking into Flynn’s possible involvement in a plot to kidnap Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen and take him to Turkey. Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long blamed Gulen for a failed coup against him in July 2016.
Even in the face of all of this, Flynn has long been steadfastly loyal to Trump. However, earlier this month, word got out that Flynn was spooked at the possibility that his son, Michael Jr., was facing indictment as well–and was at least thinking about flipping in order to keep his son out of jail. Michael Jr. was in on a number of questionable financial deals that are now being investigated by Mueller.
This development may explain something Rachel Maddow suggested on Wednesday night. Apparently Trump isn’t willing to foot the bill for Mueller’s legal expenses. Watch here.
News: Trump lawyer Ty Cobb says Trump not planning to help Mike Flynn with legal fees. pic.twitter.com/OEtdGy8iNg
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) November 23, 2017
One of the few ways that would make sense would be if Cobb had gotten word that Flynn was putting out feelers to Mueller.
Last month, national security expert Juliette Kayyem predicted that a major bombshell would detonate in the Russia probe before Thanksgiving. This development led her to wonder if she really had been on to something.
Flynn has likely flipped. 💅🏻
Does today still count as my predicted "before Thanksgiving?" https://t.co/DMGphjd6zy
— Juliette Kayyem (@juliettekayyem) November 23, 2017
Chances are that she probably is. After all, when George Papadoupolos pleaded guilty on the first official day of Mueller Time, it emerged that Papadoupolos had been singing to Mueller for most of the summer. If Flynn had even been thinking about cooperating with Mueller, those talks probably started long before now.
If Flynn has indeed flipped, or is even sounding out Mueller for terms, Trump should be very afraid. After all, there is only one scalp that Flynn could possibly offer–that of Trump himself. It’s very possible that the reality-based world could be getting an early Christmas present.
(featured image courtesy Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, part of public domain)