Few lasting fusillades of outrage have been launched over President Donald Trump’s Thanksgiving-Eve pardon of former national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
Oh, there’s the usual general grumbling from the left because, well, the president took an action, and that action as always must be opposed. But there’s no Ford-pardons-Nixon rage or even the burn that followed President Bill Clinton’s announcement of his extensive 2001 clemency list.
Why? Because the incoming Biden presidential administration doesn’t want too much talk circulating about those last few months preceding the 2017 Trump inauguration. That was when the Barack Obama White House — with Biden as vice president — was actively working to discredit the new administration before it began.
Even as the Biden administration seeks to employ retreads from those Obama years, an investigation by U.S. attorney John Durham on how a now discredited investigation on Trump colluding with Russians got started is ongoing.
What happened to Flynn, who was Trump’s national security adviser for 22 days before he was fired for supposedly lying to the FBI and to Vice President Mike Pence, is wrapped up in that Obama-Biden administration cabal.
Opinions will vary whether the retired military leader should have been national security adviser in the first place, given previous paid gigs for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but he didn’t deserve a four-year pursuit by prosecutors and judges for what may or may not have been a lie told to the FBI.
Obama’s FBI, in fact, had been ready to close an investigation of Flynn, who was unpopular in his administration and had been fired as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. But, with secret knowledge of Flynn’s albeit useless talks with the Russian ambassador about sanctions Obama had put in place, it extended the probe.
Then, on the national security adviser’s first day in office, the FBI attempted to entrap him, asking to speak to him — without asking permission of the White House or Justice Department, as protocols require — but telling him he didn’t need to inform the White House or retain counsel. He was not told of the nature of the interview, not warned any false statements he made could be prosecuted and not allowed to review the recordings of what he’d said to the Russian ambassador.
Whatever Flynn said about the conversation wasn’t fully accurate, but the FBI didn’t pursue it because the conversation was of no value and may not have been a lie. But the team of later-appointed Russia special prosecutor Robert Mueller put pressure on Flynn to plead guilty and, as the record now reveals, suggested his son could be prosecuted. So Flynn pleaded guilty, not once but twice. Earlier this year he asked to withdraw his plea because he said the government breached the deal it made with him in late 2017.
Ultimately, a Justice Department investigation uncovered that there was scant basis for investigating Flynn in the first place, acknowledged there was nothing “material” in his statements to the FBI agents, reasoned that he would be acquitted if the case went to trial and decided to dismiss the case. Yet, the federal judge who was involved in the case has essentially declined the dismissal motion, leaving Flynn languishing. Thus, Trump, who had been threatening such a move, took action.
Just days after the pardon last week, Carter Page, the former Trump campaign associate who was the target of a secret surveillance warrant from Obama’s FBI during the 2016 presidential campaign, filed a federal lawsuit alleging he was the victim of “unlawful spying.”
The warrant and a subsequent one granted before the Trump administration took office were based on false information gathered in a dossier that was paid for, in part, by the campaign of Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.
“Since not a single proven fact ever established complicity with Russia involving Dr. Page,” says the lawsuit, which names the FBI, the Justice Department, former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and other officials as defendants, “there never was probable cause to seek or obtain the FISA [surveillance] Warrants targeting him on this basis.”
Page, the suit further states, has received death and kidnapping threats and has suffered economic losses and “irreparable damage to his reputation.”
For more than four years, Flynn and Page have been under an unjust cloud of suspicion for misdeeds that totaled, at worst, one largely inconsequential charge of lying. Their persecution has been a microcosm for what Democrats, courts and the national media have put the Trump administration through the past four years.
Is it any wonder then that in a recent poll 79% of Republican voters and 12% of Democratic voters think Biden stole the election? We still believe evidence to prove that must be shown soon — and substantially — for such a finding to have any credibility, but given all that’s happened we’re not surprised at the finding.