You’ll always be the wiser tuning in on what Jennifer has to say…
But lobbying for that can hardly be called doing damage to U.S. interests. It’s lobbying; it’s not, say, bribery or espionage. Lobbyists go in the front door and talk to responsible officials. Some of what they do can shade over into illegal behavior, to be sure, but there’s no indication that Mueller has alleged any such behavior, other than the alleged “conspiracy” to conceal the ultimate client for the FIG’s lobbying in 2016.
Not only is there no evidence, but Mueller’s team is now on record telling a judge that they have no intention of pursuing Flynn over treason or violating the Logan Act. I assume Flynn’s defense counsel is glad to pocket that gift.
The good Judge Sullivan did in the Flynn hearing this week
There has been a lot of ink expended already on the uncharacteristic outburst from Judge Emmet Sullivan in his hearing in federal court on the sentencing proposals for Michael Flynn. It’s not my plan to rehash it here, except to summarize the main points highlighted by the media.
Sullivan asked a constructive question about whether Flynn’s behavior in relation to another case – that of his firm’s lobbying for Turkey – was thought by Robert Mueller to have risen to the level of “treason.” And Sullivan suggested that under that condition he would be disgusted by what Flynn had done.
Not surprisingly, the reporting on this universally described Flynn and his lawyers as “stunned” by the judge’s outburst. The language was arguably prejudicial. Some commentators are even suggesting that Sullivan should be sanctioned.
That is all a separate argument from the point I want to make here. The media have largely misrepresented the judge’s comments to make them come off, straightforwardly, as if Sullivan in fact thought Flynn had been treasonous and behaved in a disgusting manner, and that appears to be an inaccurate representation. But that’s not the point I want to make either.
The point instead is this. I don’t know why the judge indulged in this outburst. No one seems to. But what came of it is actually important, and not because of the media’s focus on it and the bad odor it may put General Flynn in.
The important thing Judge Sullivan accomplished – perhaps even inadvertently; I can’t be sure – is that we have the Mueller prosecution on record disclaiming an interest in or intention to charge Flynn under the Logan Act or pursue a charge of treason on any basis.