In Like Flynn? General Reportedly Offer To Testify In Exchange for Immunity

Washington is abuzz with the news that former national security adviser Michael Flynn has offered to cooperate with congressional investigators in exchange for immunity from prosecution. The offer was reportedly made by his lawyer to both the FBI and Congress.  This has triggered a gleeful media frenzy as commentators hold forth on what damaging information Flynn might offer in exchange for immunity.  However, the offer could also reflect a general preference of lawyers for immunity before allowing their clients to face potentially wide ranging interrogations or testimony. Update: President Trump has said that Flynn should demand immunity.

Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner, offered a tantalizing hint to Congress and said “General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit.”  He added “Out of respect for the committees, we will not comment right now on the details of discussions between counsel for General Flynn and the House and Senate intelligence committees, other than to confirm that those discussions have taken place. But it is important to acknowledge the circumstances in which those discussions are occurring.’’

That is substantially short of a standard proffer of what a witness might offer.  It is not clear if a proffer was supplied to the Justice Department.  Flynn is the type of high ranking official that is the subject of immunity given to others as a target for prosecution.  The problem with being high up in government is that there are few people higher for the purposes of targeting.  People get immunity to incriminate the Flynns of the world. With the exception of the President himself, it is hard to see who Flynn could offer as a possible target in exchange for his own immunity.

Congress could grant Flynn testimonial immunity, though that would only protect him from the use of his testimony in a later prosecution. If he did not get immunity, he could plead the Fifth Amendment as did  former IRS official Lois Lerner.  Lermer refused to testify after Congress declined to give her immunity.  The problem is that an immunity grant can undermine later prosecutions, even simple testimonial immunity.  We saw those problems in the attempt to prosecute Oliver North.  Immunity for Flynn could make any possible criminal charges less likely since he is alleged (without any clear proof) to have served as a key conduit to the Russians.  Much like the immunity deals handed out by the Obama Administration, such a deal could cap the possible damage from any investigation.

 

I would be surprised for any attorney not to seek immunity in these circumstance.  Flynn would be asked an assortment questions by both the FBI and Congress.  Any misleading or false answer could result in charges under 18 USC 1001 or related laws.  When you add the heavy political objectives behind various parties, this testimony is fraught with dangers. I would have asked for immunity in such a case for a client but the question now is whether Flynn offered a proffer that incriminated any other officials.  Unless a proffer is supplied, the prosecution could by a “pig in a poke.”

 

118 thoughts on “In Like Flynn? General Reportedly Offer To Testify In Exchange for Immunity

  1. I am very interested to see what happens. If I were in Flynn’s shoes, I wouldn’t open my mouth without immunity. The government has become weaponized against conservatives. Hillary Clinton can receive half a million dollars from Russia for her husband to give a speech, and her foundation can get $144 million, curiously right around the time she signed off on selling 1/5 of our Uranium to Russia…and everyone’s OK with that. We’re OK with the gross mishandling of classified information, evading a subpoena by wiping her server clean, lying about it, lying about Benghazi, one scandal after another…but people are talking treason because Flynn told the Russian ambassador to hold off on retaliation for the sanctions until Trump takes office. I wouldn’t breathe a word without immunity.

    That said, we don’t know where the evidence will lead, and I very much want to know how this turns out.

    I just want the law to apply equally to Democrats as Republicans. We all have our pipe dreams.

    • Benghazi…That’s rich. Every wingnut wackjob in D.C. with a Ronald Reagan bobble head conducted an investigation. What did any of them find? Bupkis…

    • Not if he is offering this to the Trump Administration and obviously the fascist left hung him out to dry..Judging from their new Reichs Fuhrer Perez the left singing establishment extremists are in full bore panic mode. to have some one do a Hitler speech complete with screaming and arm waving so perfectly.

      Seig me no heils Comrade we moderate centrists do not serve the party.

  2. We no longer hear about Sally Yates, the assistant AG to Obama (briefly Trump AG) who was going to testify before the House Intelligence Committee until Devin Nunes, the GOP chair of the committee investigating Trump-team/Russia, who was also part of the Trump transition team , suddenly cancelled the meeting for the day Yates was scheduled to testify – after Nunes had run back and forth to communicate with unknown people in the WH -supposedly 🙂 – on other matters.

    Along with others, I’m convinced the DNC and Hillary have made huge and patently false propaganda efforts with this Trump/Russia fiasco, but I have to admit that Trump seems to insist he can match any sleaze they dish out with equal measures of his own.

    Our entire government, and the giant trans-national corporations that run it, are simply NON credible. A bunch of corrupt thieves the likes and scale of which have never been seen on Earth before..

    • Comrade Fish….it’s now Sunday the 2nd of April What does your collective programmer tell you to regurgitate today? Amazing how you sound so very much like a garden variety Bolshevik

  3. To whom it may concern, when the dam breaks with Trump and the Russians, what is the republiborg collective going to say? ..Hillary? Obama? but…but….but…..but….

  4. Barry Popik of the American Dialect Society found an example from 1940, as well as this from the sports section of the San Francisco Examiner of 8 February 1942: “Answer these questions correctly and your name is Flynn, meaning you’re in, provided you have two left feet and the written consent of your parents”. To judge from a newspaper reference he turned up from early 1943, the phrase could by then also be shortened to I’m Flynn, meaning “I’m in”.[1]

    In later years, the rhyming phrase became associated with actor Errol Flynn, who had a reputation for womanizing, consumption of alcohol and brawling. His freewheeling, hedonistic lifestyle caught up with him in November 1942 when two under-age girls, Betty Hansen and Peggy Satterlee, accused him of statutory rape.[2] A group was organized to support Flynn, named the American Boys’ Club for the Defense of Errol Flynn (ABCDEF); its members included William F. Buckley, Jr.[3] The trial took place in January and February 1943, and Flynn was cleared of the charges. According to etymologist Michael Quinion, the incident served to increase Flynn’s reputation as a ladies’ man, which influenced the connotations of the phrase “in like Flynn”.[1] Columnist Cecil Adams also examined the term’s origins and its relationship to Flynn. Many early sources, attesting the phrase, say it emerged as war slang during World War II.[4]

  5. What may be going on is that his lawyer wishes to protect him from prosecution for process crimes. Federal prosecutors have a history of vicious and unscrupulous behavior in this regard (see Lawrence Walsh re Caspar Weinberger or Patrick FitzGerald re Lewis Libby).

  6. Republicans did not want to give immunity to Lerner because they knew the truth she would tell did not fit the narrative conspiracy theories they could spin without her testimony.

    So, too with Flynn — the Republicans will not give him immunity, but for a different reason. Flynn’s truth testimony may be consistent with the narrative by the anti-Trumpites and thus be very damaging to the President whom they must embrace to achieve their goals. So, I suspect, the Republicans will not be in a rush to grant immunity to Flynn unless the Democrats shame them into it. That’s possible. But, I think it is also true that, even though they may disagree with Trump and think he is a buffoon (yes, even Republicans think that), he is still the key to the kingdom they want to lord over.

    • “Republicans did not want to give immunity to Lerner because they knew the truth she would tell did not fit the narrative conspiracy theories they could spin without her testimony.”

      How objective of you. Never mind the so called “narrative” was supported by facts. What they lacked was evidence of the motive. Picture Lois Lerner running down people with her car but she managed to only hit conservatives. Pleading the 5th or not granting immunity does not void the fact people were run over. I wouldn’t grant her immunity either.

      • Houston Tax Lawyer reminds you that partisan Democrats are perfectly comfortable with abuses of power that Richard Nixon could not get away with, and will lie and make excuses for officials. You want open season, Houston Tax Lawyer, you deserve to get it good and hard, including disbarment.

    • Lerner was not given immunity because it was known she was a true believer and would fall on her sword w/ no consequences for her or higher ups. I wouldn’t let Houston Tax Lawyer do my short form.

    • anon,

      Instead of hyping this situation with all the speculation, if you were able to bring some actual information to the table, that would actually help in understanding what it going on. Every side has their talking points in order. I’m wishing you would join in rejecting talking points and ask for (or present) hard evidence.

        • anon,

          I don’t think you realize how fed up many people are with the constant speculation being fed to us by the oligarchy. Actually, no one has been proven anything at this point. No evidence has been presented by the IC, its hangers on, or Trump. Apparently, the tactic is to just keep speculating, hoping no one will ask for proof.

          I do see this technique works very well for many Democrats. It’s a way of dumbing down our population. It makes people mindlessly obedient to the authority of the oligarchy, all the while feeling that they are part of “The Resistance”. It distracts people from the real problems we face-a truly desperate situation. That doesn’t seem like a very honorable goal.

          In this time of deep suffering, we need people with honorable intentions towards others.

              • Sixty days ago who would have thought that Flynn would have been seeking immunity The investigations are a work in progress. 🙂

                • anon,

                  You seem to love partisan speculation and statements. Go for it. It will convince the Dems!

                  I guess that is why you are completely unresponsive to others who want evidence, not propaganda. People who want, not partisanship, but a good society don’t want propaganda and don’t deliver it to others.

            • Agreed. The problem is that your side loves to make people suffer as well. Either you truly don’t see that or your paid not to. This isn’t a one party operation.

              • They are in charge now and I am not paid. I guess it is hard for you to believe that there are many many people that willingly volunteer to oppose TRUMP BANNON.

                • anon,

                  Please read before responding. First, I agreed with you that Trump/Bannon are harmful.

                  Now to your second point. I don’t believe you think that there is only one branch of govt., the executive branch which has the power to do harm. I also don’t believe you don’t count state or local govts. as part of who is in charge in our nation. Further, the IC has a lot of power. You can see wikileaks and Snowden for that information. Corporations hold tremendous power. I believe you must know that Democrats take part in the IC, state and local govts., the US Congress and courst along with corporations. Therefore you seem disingenuous when you say only Trump?Bannon is doing things which hurt people.

                  I’ll stand by my other statement. Either you are willfully refusing to look at the situation we all face or you are being paid not to see it. I couldn’t tell you which, I can only tell you that your refusal to honestly look at the totality of the situation is itself harmful to any hope of making things better for our nation as a whole.

                  • I did not say “only” Trump Bannon. Could you please point out where I said “only”? You misrepresented what I said while speaking of honesty.

                    • I said: “Agreed. The problem is that your side loves to make people suffer as well. Either you truly don’t see that or your paid not to. This isn’t a one party operation.”

                      You said: “They are in charge now and I am not paid. I guess it is hard for you to believe that there are many many people that willingly volunteer to oppose TRUMP BANNON.”

                      I think people can understand exactly what you’re saying here.

                • Fortunately being “under investigation” is not a disqualifier for office. If that were the case then all the DOJ would need to do is put all of the candidates deemed unworthy for office under investigation until after the election. I’m not sure what form of government you prefer, but having our choices for candidates limited to the will of existing Executive branch appointees is absolutely a recipe for disaster.

              • I have noticed in the past year that more and more people call those that they disagree with “paid” in order to disarm them and make them seem irrelevant.

                • True dat. And the same mud is being slung from left to right as well, though the right is not being accused of being paid. The right is being smeared as nutjobs, racists, fascists, xenophobes, ‘you name it’ – to quote Hillary. I happen to enjoy matching your tweet posts with tweet posts that tell the opposite side of the story. Just another way of communicating these days.

                  • Thank you. 🙂 Sure the right is accused of being paid. I read paid Trump trolls outnumbered the Clinton trolls 7 to 1 during the election. Clinton ran a poor campaign.

  7. It’s clear that no one, not the IC, its hangers on, or the Trump administration will provide evidence to back up anything they are saying. It’s anonymous officials riding on the backs of turtles all the way down.

    Grant the immunity. Produce real evidence.

    Wikileaks has just released the code of the CIA’s obfuscation software. It makes investigators think others were hacked by PUTIN! instead of the CIA. It also contains an anti obfuscation code. This should bring out some evidence as well.

    Until I see the IC and their hangers on or the Trump administration willing to lay some real cards on the table I will consider this BS to be a coup against the people of the US. A coup which is one, acting under the guise of two sides or entities, just like our fake legacy political parties. One agenda, two names. All oligarchy, all the time.

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