Andrew McCarthy makes the case that the charges against Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI are an indication that Special Prosecutor Mueller doesn’t have anything else to charge anyone for. Byron York makes the case that the Trump Administration was set up by the Obama Administration to be charged with violating the Logan Act (a law under which no one has ever been prosecuted) on day one. Both articles are an indication of how desperate some people in Washington are to undo the results of a valid election. That is a sad place for our country to be.
Andrew McCarthy reminds us:
Bottom line: If the FBI had a collusion case of some kind, after well over a year of intensive investigation, Flynn and Papadopoulos would have been pressured to plead guilty to very serious charges — and those serious offenses would be reflected in the charges lodged against Manafort. Obviously, the pleas and the indictment have nothing to do with collusion because Mueller has no collusion case.
Since there is no collusion case, we can safely assume Mueller is primarily scrutinizing President Trump with an eye toward making a case of obstructing an FBI investigation. This also makes sense in light of the pleas that have been taken.
Obstruction itself is a process crime — i.e., it relates to interference in the investigation of an underlying transaction that may or may not be criminal. In the first point, above, we noted that prosecutors generally do not let a cooperator settle a case by pleading guilty to a mere process crime. But if the main case the prosecutor is trying to build is itself a process crime, such as obstruction, then it is not all that damaging that the witnesses have pled guilty only to process crimes. The theme of such a prosecution is that the investigative process must be protected, not that some terrible underlying crime (like an espionage conspiracy) has been committed. Witnesses such as Flynn and Papadopoulos would therefore not be made to look like they had gotten a pass on serious offenses; they would look like they had owned up to corrupting the process and are now helping the prosecutor against the principal corruption target.
Keep in mind that the obstruction charge is obstructing justice in the investigation of a crime that was never committed. This is beyond bizarre–particularly when Hillary Clinton was not charged with obstruction after she destroyed evidence in the email case.
Byron York reports:
As for another concern that Yates said she had over the Flynn-Kislyak conversations — the worry that Flynn’s lie to Vice President Mike Pence (that sanctions were not discussed on the call) would open Flynn up to possible blackmail — perhaps that is a legitimate concern, but why did it warrant FBI questioning of Flynn under the penalty of prosecution for making false statements? Certainly Yates could have warned the White House about that without interrogating Flynn at all.
Instead, it was the prospect of a Logan Act prosecution that led to the FBI interview, which then, when Flynn lied to investigators, led to his guilty plea on a false statements charge.
From today’s perspective, nearly a year later, it has become apparent that, farfetched as it might seem, the Logan Act made it possible for the Obama administration to go after Trump. The ancient law that no one has ever been prosecuted for violating was the Obama administration’s flimsy pretense for a criminal prosecution of the incoming Trump team.
And by the way, when it finally came time to charge Flynn with a crime, did prosecutors, armed with the transcripts of those Flynn-Kislyak conversations, choose to charge him with violating the Logan Act? Of course not. But for the Obama team, the law had already served its purpose, months earlier, to entangle the new administration in a criminal investigation as soon as it walked in the door of the White House.
Our FBI has become an arm of the Democratic Party. It needs to be replaced. That is a shame.