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PostCollusion with Russia and the Flynn Case: Deep-State Shenanigans or Real Crimes? (Francisco Ramirez, USA, 05/22/20 4:51 am)
Allow me to enter into these woods.
If I understand George Aucoin's post of May 20th, the core argument is that there were unusual, unwarranted, and undesirable events characterizing the transition from the Obama to the Trump administration. The inference is that the Obama administration was engaged in much wrongdoing in collusion with the mainstream media and that both the media and the Obama administration should be held accountable. From this perspective Trump and the ensnared Flynn are victims.
The alternative perspective starts with the premise that we have never seen a presidential candidate publicly and loudly call on Russia (a foreign power) to reveal leaked documents that would be harmful to the other presidential candidate (interference in an election). Is this premise accurate? Is it also accurate that the designated and incoming Secretary of Defense differed from prior appointees as regards his financial ties to Russian oligarchs (entrepreneurs, if one prefers)? If the answer to both questions is yes, might not these indeed unusual events warrant the cross-sharing of national intelligence agencies in mid-December? From this perspective we do not have a Deep State conspiracy to undercut the incoming administration, but rather a reasonable concern regarding ties with Russia and the potential leverage that these ties could give Russia.
After merely 24 days as National Security Advisor, a rather sensitive and important position, General Flynn resigned for misleading (allegedly, if you prefer) both the FBI and the Vice President regarding his communication with the Russian Ambassador. This event can be seen as evidence that the intelligence concerns made sense. Or, to go back to the first perspective, this could be seen as the first instance of the Deep State ensnaring the good General. If you believe Comey when he said that Trump told him to go easy on Flynn, the alternative perspective makes sense. If not, then the Deep State is again evident.
The Mueller Report concluded that there was Russian interference and its aim was to get Trump elected. Was this conclusion a reasonable one? If so, does it further suggest the reasonableness of concerns about ties with Russia? Was this an unreasonable conclusion, the product of a Deep State political witch hunt? The report also concluded there there was insufficient evidence of collusion between Trump people and the interfering Russian. There is a difference between insufficient and no evidence. I do not recall Mueller testifying that there was no evidence. This, however, was the impression one would get from the Barr memo summarizing the report and released before Mueller's testimony. Should we assume that Mueller is part of the Deep State and Barr is more independent-minded and objective?
The Report has not been published, not because the prior administration has sought to block its publication. An appeals court has ordered its release. The Supreme Court has blocked its full release for now. If its release would vindicate the Trump administration's claims of no collusion, just a hoax, why is it not arguing for its full release? Instead it has sought to prevent its release. Well, I suppose one could argue that there are national security issues that prevent the Trump administration from acting in its self-interest.
Lastly, we arrive at the ensnaring (second time?) of the good General. The Department of Justice, no longer a part of the Deep State, correctly recognizes this miscarriage of justice and rectifies it by dropping charges? Alternatively, this decision is a political one much welcomed by the President and preciously little to do with justice.
(If Trump falls to get re-elected, Mr. Flynn may still enjoy extended solitude. Can you pardon someone who has withdrawn a guilty plea? Can you charge him anew? We have legal experts who can provide correct answer to these innocent questions.)
From the first perspective Trump and Flynn are victims of the Obama administration (think Obamagate), the pernicious Deep State and its Mainstream Media ally and they should be held accountable. From the alternative perspective the words and deeds of Trump and Flynn raised and continue to raise legitimate concerns (think Trump and Ukraine) and it is they and their allies in Fox and Friends who should be held accountable.
JE comments: Francisco Ramirez's central question ties in with Paul Pitlick's comments from yesterday: Did Flynn lie or not? There is some irony in recanting a previous guilty plea for lying. To plead guilty and later not guilty proves (logically) you've lied at least one more time. Of course, there's the matter of confessing under duress or as a result of illegal actions from law enforcement. Earlier today, George Aucoin wrote that Flynn never received his Miranda rights and suffered from incompetent counsel. (But why would someone as high-profile and "connected" as Flynn have bad lawyers?)
My prediction: Trump will grant Flynn a full pardon. At this point, the political fallout from doing so would be minor.