President Donald Trump’s attorney Ty Cobb issued a response on Friday to the news that former national security adviser Michael Flynn had pled guilty to making false statements to the FBI and appeared to be cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of potential Trump ties to Russian election interference.
That statement was basically, nothing to see here.
Today, Michael Flynn, a former National Security Advisor at the White House for 25 days during the Trump Administration, and a former Obama administration official, entered a guilty plea to a single count of making a false statement to the FBI.
The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year. Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn. The conclusion of this phase of the Special Counsel’s work demonstrates again that the Special Counsel is moving with all deliberate speed and clears the way for a prompt and reasonable conclusion.
Considering the statement went out of its way to describe Flynn as a “former Obama administration official,” it’s probably worth recalling a few fast facts about the Flynn situation.
- Flynn’s “statement of the offense” implicates an unnamed Trump transition official, presumably above him on the food chain, in knowing about and advising his conversations with the Russians, which were at issue in Flynn’s false statements.
- Flynn was kept on as national security adviser even after then–acting attorney general Sally Yates warned the White House that he had lied about his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in a way that left him open to blackmail by the Russians. He was ultimately only fired when it emerged publicly that he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence.
- It’s also maybe worth noting that former FBI director James Comey—who was fired by Trump because of the Russian investigation, according to the president—testified under oath that he was privately asked by Trump to drop his investigation of Flynn. (The president denies this.)
- And it also might be worth noting that Flynn was not some minor figure in Trump’s campaign. In fact, he was one of Trump’s fiercest defenders, most notably leading a chant of “lock her up” during prime time of the Republican National Convention. In fact, he was so high up in the Trump campaign that candidate Trump himself floated his name to the New York Times as a possibility for vice president.
- Finally, it’s possibly worth remembering that former President Barack Obama had Flynn removed from his position as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency two years into his work there. Oh yeah, and Obama reportedly explicitly warned President Trump to “steer clear” of Flynn.
But, sure, he’s probably most notable as “former Obama administration official.”