Back in May, after he had fired FBI Director James Comey, President Trump sent out this somewhat cryptic tweet:
James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
As it turned out, Trump didn’t actually have any “tapes” of his conversations with Comey. It was all just an idle threat Trump used, he later said, to keep Comey honest:
“When he found out that I, you know, that there may be tapes out there, whether it’s governmental tapes or anything else — and who knows — I think his story may have changed.”
But in what may well turn out to be one of the greatest instances of poetic irony in modern history, it now looks as if former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty last week to a single charge of lying to the FBI, may, as part of his plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, have worn a wire.
The Guardian reports:
“Section eight of the deal reached by Donald Trump’s former national security adviser in the inquiry into Russian meddling in the US election is entitled ‘cooperation.’ It specifies that as well as answering questions and submitting to government-administered polygraph tests, Flynn’s cooperation ‘may include … participating in covert law enforcement activities.’
Long-time students of federal law enforcement practices agreed, speaking anonymously, that “covert law enforcement activities” likely refers to the possibility of wearing a concealed wire or recording telephone conversations with other potential suspects.”
John Flannery, a former federal prosecutor in the southern district of New York, said such a plea deal likely did include wearing a wire or recording phone conversations:
“If the other subjects of investigation have had any conversations with Flynn during the last few months, that phrase must have all of them shaking in their boots.
“The one who must be particularly terrified is [Trump son-in-law and adviser] Jared Kushner, if he spoke to the special counsel’s office without immunity about the very matter that is the subject of Flynn’s plea. I think he must be paralyzed if he talked to Flynn before or after the investigators debriefed him.”
Now imagine that Flynn was wearing that wire or talking on the phone with Trump or other White House staffers before he and his legal team cut off all cooperation with Trump’s attorneys. Might he have Trump on tape promising to pardon him or going on at length about how the contacts with Russia were initiated? That’s certainly a very real possibility.
Someone is in very deep shit, as Flannery noted when discussing the fact instead of facing five years in prison, Mueller will only seek six months to a year at sentencing:
“No prosecutor I know would agree to reducing a sentence that dramatically unless the witness had provided very significant information about at least one other target of his investigation. You wouldn’t get such a low sentence unless you had implicated a big target. The person that you’re lifting up allows you to sit on the ground.”
Featured Image Via the BBC