Government

Flynn's Sentencing Delayed by Berating Judge

The judge rebuked Flynn — even suggesting he acted treasonously — before backing off.

Political Editors · Dec. 19, 2018

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan on Tuesday delayed sentencing former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn at the request of his attorneys. The events leading up to the judge’s decision were bizarre to say the least. Following Sullivan’s instruction last week to Robert Mueller and the Justice Department to provide documents related to the FBI’s interview of Flynn to the court, many were speculating that Flynn’s guilty plea may have been in doubt, which would have certainly served as a reprimand against Mueller.

However, what transpired was anything but a criticism of the FBI. Instead, Sullivan proceeded to blast Flynn for “treasonous” acts before backtracking somewhat as he delayed the sentencing until March.

Sullivan berated Flynn, stating, “All along, you were an unregistered agent of a foreign country while serving as the national security advisor to the president of the United States. That undermines everything this flag over here stands for. Arguably, you sold your country out.” But after a short recess, he walked it back, saying, “I’m not suggesting [Flynn] was committing treason. I was just curious if he could have been charged. Lots of conspiracy theories out there. … I was just trying to determine the benefit and the generosity of the government. Don’t read too much into the questions I ask.”

For the record, Sullivan never served a day in uniform.

Ironically, Sullivan’s statements even caught Mueller’s team off guard, as it was they who pushed back against the judge’s suggestion of treason, asserting, “The government has no reason to believe [that Flynn] committed treason.” Flynn was not guilty of being an “unregistered agent,” and when even the prosecution pointed that out, Sullivan walked back his accusation.

Consider constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley’s assessment: “When you read these [FBI interview report] 302s, this is a rather anemic crime that borders on the pathetic. I mean [Flynn] gets a call [while] on vacation; he talks to the Russian ambassador. None of that is strange or unprecedented, and certainly not unlawful.”

Meanwhile, this was an enlightening exchange from James Comey’s testimony Tuesday: Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) told Comey, “You were so concerned that Michael Flynn may have lied … to the vice president of the United States, but … once you got that confirmed … you didn’t believe that it was appropriate to tell the president of the United States.”

Comey replied, “That is correct. … We had an open investigation, criminal investigation, counterintelligence investigation. There was no way I would discuss that with the president.”

By the way, Comey also recently admitted that sending agents to interview Flynn outside of normal protocol was “something I probably wouldn’t have done or maybe gotten away with in a more … organized administration.” He explained, “If the FBI wanted to send agents into the White House itself to interview a senior official, you would work through the White House counsel, and there would be discussions and approvals and who would be there. I thought: ‘It’s early enough, let’s just send a couple guys over.’”

Former U.S. Attorney Joe diGenova hit Barack Obama’s FBI deep-state operatives, declaring, “Michael Flynn was framed to get Donald Trump. [Former Obama FBI officials] Sally Yates, James Comey, Peter Strozk, [and] Andrew McCabe all planned it. What you are watching play out in an American courtroom is one of the most disgraceful events in American criminal justice.”

Even a few MSM talkingheads are starting to figure this out. ABC News legal analyst Dan Abrams declared that Flynn “got railroaded.” Abrams lamented, “I have sympathy for Michael Flynn now. And it’s fair to say that at this hearing he got railroaded. This judge … was just being vindictive.”

So where does this leave things? Sullivan granted Flynn’s request for a delay in sentencing as he is still cooperating with Mueller in an investigation into two of his former business partners who were indicted Monday for violating lobbying rules. As for the theory that Sullivan was about to throw out Flynn’s plea deal over FBI entrapment, that was shown to be completely wrong. In fact, this latest development seemingly serves only to further strengthen Mueller’s hand.

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