Friday, March 31, 2017

Cool Reception to Mike Flynn's Request for Immunity


“When you are given immunity, that means that you probably have committed a crime.” So said Mike Flynn on September 25 last year, speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press". Then-Republican candidate Donald Trump said "if you haven't committed a crime why would you ask for immunity, right?"

Flynn, conspiracy theorist, arbiter of fake news prior to the election, was also a "lock her up" cheerleader at the Republican National Convention. He and Trump were, of course, speaking about then Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and the alleged crime for which she was endlessly investigated and publicly hung, drawn and quartered despite having been found to have committed no crime. 

In the week prior to the 2016 election, Flynn tweeted "U decide - NYPD Blows Whistle on New Hillary Emails: Money Laundering, Sex Crimes w Children, etc… MUST READ!" The allegations were of course baseless. This was the man Donald Trump chose for White House National Security Adviser. 

In the previous year, Flynn spoke at a Russian state-owned media RT Television gala in Moscow. Jill Stein also attended the gala. Flynn, however, was paid $45,000 plus  expenses. RT is well known to be a propaganda outlet controlled by Vladimir Putin. It has been used successfully to propagate fake news and influence both the ultra right and the ultra left in the US and countries in Europe.

Flynn was forced to resign his post within a month when it was revealed, in an ironic twist, by  Intelligence, that he had lied in his confirmation hearing about meeting any Russian officials. In fact he met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Speculation about deeper involvement has been rife.

Now Flynn has offered his testimony to the FBI and the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, in exchange for immunity. So far the reception has been cool.  Ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Rep Adam Schiff, D-Calif, released a statement, saying, "We should first acknowledge what a grave and momentous step it is for a former National Security Advisor to the President of the United States to ask for immunity from prosecution." 

It is unclear what Mike Flynn's motivation is, but he has the support of Donald Trump, as expressed, naturally, in a tweet, which undermines the idea that Flynn has any real information to offer, especially considering his past obsession with conspiracy theories, and his predilection for alternative facts. 

The White House has recently made significant efforts to distract attention from the investigations into possible collusion between Russian officials and members of the Trump campaign—and indeed Donald Trump himself. But Democrats on the hill are not fooled, and nor will they be taken in by any games if Flynn is playing them, with or without the president's endorsement. As Adam Schiff added in his statement,
"Additionally, as with any investigation—and particularly one that grows in severity and magnitude by the day—there is still much work and many more witnesses and documents to obtain before any immunity request from any witness can be considered. 
As but one example, during our open hearing I made a formal request of the agencies to provide Mr. Flynn's background check document, SF-86, so we can determine whether he properly reported any work he may have conducted on behalf of a foreign entity. We have yet to receive those documents. 
Moreover, when the times comes to consider requests for immunity from any witness, we will of course require a detailed proffer of any intended testimony."