I see that you did not post my comments yesterday disagreeing with your column and supporting Gen. Flynn’s sentencing. It would appear you only post comments agreeing with your column’s stated position, even though I acknowledged your right to hold your own opinion. Somewhat disingenuous on your part, is it not?
From the Gov:
Thanks for writing (again), Chip. We did post your original comments; occasionally it takes a while to get them moderated and posted. In fact, your letter shows up twice. We print comments that disagree with me all the time –- as long as they are clean, which they often aren’t –- typically even singling them out for a response, as is happening right now. I actually enjoy being put in the “hot seat” and defending why I believe as I do. So here is what you originally wrote, for the third time now...
I disagree. You’re entitled to your own opinion, but Gen. Flynn was judged guilty as charged. He should have gotten a prison sentence from the beginning.
Now, here are a couple of others who also disagreed with me. Afterwards, I’ll reply to all three.
Haven't read your "story" yet (I'll read it later...), but I always go back to: if Flynn had been candid with Trump/Pence he wouldn't be "frying in his own hot water" (kinda a mixed metaphor, which goes with the turf). They would have "had his back"... Trump (like Harry Truman) may be loyal to a fault, but don't cross him. It is my understanding that Flynn made a "bad move"…
I don't agree with the way they caught Flynn but the fact remains he lied. It really doesn't matter that the meeting with FBI was informal or that he did not have an attorney present. There are many others on the Democrat side that hopefully suffer from some jail time but as you have said there is a double standard in Washington.
From the Gov:
Yes, there certainly is a double standard in Washington. Flynn was targeted by an intel community headed by people we KNOW lied under oath. I don’t mean getting something wrong while being unknowingly ambushed, as Flynn was, just days into his new White House job --- I mean huge whoppers under oath, flat-out deliberate deception. Yet they are still free, with book deals and big-time media jobs.
It is also my understanding that they still retain their security clearances, except for former FBI Director James Comey, who apparently gave his up so he wouldn’t be able to testify about some matters that are classified. He could have kept it if he’d chosen to. Pretty slick, huh?
But let’s set aside the double standard, glaring as it is, and examine what Paul Harvey would have called “the rest of the story.” I would advise anyone who believes Flynn, after all he’s been through, deserves prison to read Lee Smith’s book, THE PLOT AGAINST THE PRESIDENT. Much of what I relate here can be found in great detail in that book.
Most people known little about Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s background. Flynn was considered to be the top military intelligence officer of his generation. But the way he wanted to revolutionize the use of intelligence on the battlefield put him at odds with the bureaucracy. He didn’t want to have to send intelligence to committees in Washington DC and wait for days or weeks for them to analyze it and then tell him what orders to give on the battlefield. He wanted to lessen their influence. So the bureaucrats felt threatened by him.
He was also quite vocally opposed to the Iran deal, Obama’s baby. Flynn repeatedly challenged Obama’s policies. (No wonder Trump thought he’d make a great national security adviser!) By 2012, the White House saw Flynn as an enemy. My point is, a lot of people were out to get Flynn, from President Obama on down.
I’ve written before about the dinner held in Flynn’s honor in London in 2014 that introduced him to Moscow-born Svetlana Lokhova. The details of this meeting are in Chapter 2 of Smith’s book; it appears to have been used as a set-up to make it appear that Flynn was romantically involved with an attractive Russian spy. The group hosting the dinner had ties to “confidential human source” Stefan Halper, who would also be involved in SPYING on Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.
This is just one of multiple examples of the intel community’s targeting of Flynn. These involved many of the same names associated with Hillary’s “Mid-Year Exam” and Trump’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigations. Again, please read Lee Smith’s excellent book.
Let’s move on to the transition period. Two days after Trump won, outgoing President Obama briefed him and spent much of that time, to Trump’s bewilderment, running down Flynn. (No kidding; Obama knew Flynn would dismantle the Iran deal if he could.) And In his new position, Flynn really wanted to reform the intel community, so they wanted to take him down. (As Sen. Chuck Schumer has said, you mess with the intelligence community and they’ll get you “six ways from Sunday.”) Keep in mind that Obama had hundreds of allies within the intel bureaucracy and that Flynn wanted them out, along with a smaller staff overall.
So there’s a little of the backstory, just to show that Flynn was targeted for a long time before they finally got him. We all know the details of his phone calls with Ambassador Kislyak, the unmasking of his name and the illegal leaking to the media, as well as the “ambush” interview set up by Comey –- the one in which there was no evidence of deliberate deception. Yet lying to the FBI is what he was charged with and what he will presumably go to prison for. This is a miscarriage of justice.
To Chip: Saying that Flynn was “judged guilty as charged” is incorrect. He was pressured into pleading guilty by prosecutors who wanted to use him to help them fry bigger fish, and then that didn’t happen, so now prosecutors are making him pay.
To Robert: “Not being candid” with Trump and/or Pence might be a reason to lose one’s job (which Flynn did), but it’s not a reason to be wrongfully charged with a crime, financially ruined, and facing prison time. As for the claim that Flynn lied to them about his communications with Kislyak regarding sanctions, the story is much more complicated than that. If you really think Flynn was trying to mislead them, I urge you to read Chapter 10 of THE PLOT AGAINST THE PRESIDENT, particularly pages 142-147.
And to Ronald: The “fact” certainly does not remain that he lied, unless you have such a broad definition of “lying” that it includes statements that aren’t deliberately false. Again, neither Strzok nor Pienkta reported that they thought Flynn was being deceptive. And Flynn certainly knew better than to lie. “You know what I said,” he told them when they asked him about Kislyak, “because you guys were probably listening.”
And they were.