Mike Flynn Gave a Plea On a Charge – What’s the Big Deal?
Mike Flynn yesterday pleaded guilty to a charge of lying to the FBI, the press has exploded, we have heard everything from he is handing Trump to the Special Prosecutor to the sky is falling, but what does this really mean? We also need to look at if this is a situation that the Trump administration will look at and see the beginning of the end, can this bring down the Trump administration? So far nothing else has.
The first thing to look at is how serious such a charge is and what type of leverage will such a charge have against Flynn or anyone else. It used to be that lying to the FBI did nothing more than land a misdemeanor on your record, not so much any longer, Congress amended the false statements statute in 1996, today they carry a sentence of up to 5 years in prison and $250,000 in fines (18 U.S.C. § 1001). While this is terrible, it is not like it holds 20 years, the reality is the max sentence is rarely given out, but it does hold power to make sure a person pays if they are able to slip out of other charges.
On a side note, always thought this was one of the worst laws the Congress has ever passed, what it does is give the FBI the power to lie their heads off to you, then try to push you to lie back so they can hold a felony charge against you. The best advice any attorney would give any client is to never answer the FBI anything; if you do, and you do you so inadvertently, say you simply don’t remember (if you asked me something I did a month ago I may remember, five years ago, not a chance), if they later find out that you did do something and you honestly thought you hadn’t, they can charge you. One is better off not ever saying a word, plead the fifth until guarantees of this charge not being pressed is in writing.
But back to Flynn. So what does this mean? The simple truth is in spite of all the ‘claims’ of “secret sources” and “knowledgeable people close to the case that can’t be named,” we simply have no means of knowing, we have already found out that what leaks out is not true most of the time, usually sends people off on a wild goose chase. But we can figure out some of what is going on.
First, as a rule, the charge of lying is held as a bartering tool to try to bring more cooperation from a person, if they have charged such a crime. It is rather obvious that they aren’t getting much more out of them, the only negotiation chips they have left in the game is how much the FBI will ask for sentencing, and that is, to be frank, not up to the FBI, that would be up to the Federal Prosecutors Office and the Federal Courts.
Of course, anyone in the legal counsel office would know this on the networks, that is why they aren’t bringing them into this question, the answer will not pump up the ratings, bring hope to the petulant masses from the left, so they do something like this to give them a false sense of hope. Hate to break to you poor adults that act like spoiled children, there is nothing here, most likely a case that will stem from what Flynn did, something that was hardly out of the ordinary. Seems many have forgotten that Obama and H. W Bush did the same thing with their transition team, there is no law broken for an administration in waiting to reach out to foreign leaders so as to have a foot in the game before the race starts.
So we will hear conjecture, claims of secret sources will abound, pseudo-legal experts that can’t be named will be quoted, the left will once more rejoice. Idiots like Keith Olbermann will tweet, others on the left will say the end is near, but don’t worry, no such thing is happening, Trump is there to stay.
What the left does not say is even if they did find something inappropriate, but not illegal, you would have to first find enough in Congress to allow articles of impeachment to go through, with the GOP controlling the house the likelihood of this is nill. Then add to this they would then after the house passed articles of impeachment and did vote to impeach in their chambers, it is not done, but their careers would be.
This is only half the equation, such a move would then send the whole thing to the Senate where they would have a hearing with the Supreme Court Chief Justice presiding over the hearings, they would need to show legal cause of impeachment, this with a GOP majority would never pass. If they did this for personal dislike, not for legal reasons, think if the can of worms this would open (not to mention a constitutional crises), if a party won both houses, the president at the time was from the other party, they could impeach him, then the VP and put their candidate, the Speaker of the House in the office of president. What this would most likely do is shake all confidence in the government as the least case scenario, at worst, it would set off a civil war.
So sit firm, there is nothing here, just more fluff from the left, this will pass, nothing will happen. What it looks like is we have cases of illegal activities prior to taking office or working in the campaign in one case, you have two cases where there are charges of lying, so far not a thing more.
The actual federal statute can be found here: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1001
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—
- (1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device[ , ] a material fact;
- (2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
- (3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry
shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331),imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both….