When reports came out that ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn wants immunity in order to talk to the FBI and Congressional committees about President Donald Trump‘s campaign’s ties to Russia, my immediate reaction was that he had some bombshells to drop on his former boss. But when I learned that nobody is taking him up on the offer, I realized that’s almost certainly not the case.
Sure, Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner, says that the Lt. General has the goods. He said that Flynn “has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit,” and that he just wants immunity to protect himself in a “witch-hunt environment.” I’m sure Flynn does have a story. But I’d bet it’s probably not a very good one.
Think about it. The Department of Justice was already looking into Flynn’s Russia connections. That’s how they knew about his contacts with the Russian ambassador during the campaign. They’re probably not convinced that Flynn has something worthwhile. As former federal prosecutor Henry E. Hockeimer said, “If the government isn’t coming to him it may be because they already know what he would say.”
If the feds were already looking into Flynn, it’s possible that they’re building a strong case against him. If that’s the case, they probably wouldn’t throw that away unless they were confident that he’d be able to help them take down someone bigger. Since no one is biting at Flynn’s bait, maybe he’s the biggest fish the FBI thinks they’re going to get. Indeed, white collar criminal defense attorney Elkan Abramowitz told LawNewz.com, “He certainly is a high enough potential target that it would be unlikely for him to get immunity so early in the investigation.”
So if Flynn doesn’t have the goods, why offer to talk in the first place, especially knowing that the DOJ has been poking around in his affairs? Well, former federal prosecutor Bill Thomas may have the answer. “This signals to me that the attorney has evaluated the situation and that there is the potential for big problems for the client down the road,” Thomas said. “This is a big deal because his attorney is saying to the world ‘Hey, my guy did something and we want a pass.'”
Sure, if the FBI or Congress approached Flynn first and then his lawyer asked for immunity, it would make perfect sense, regardless of what he had to say. Don’t talk unless you know it can’t come back to haunt you. But to volunteer information on the condition of immunity? Well, I think Flynn himself said it best when discussing Hillary Clinton. “When you are given immunity, that means that you’ve probably committed a crime.”
[Image via Fox News screengrab]
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.