When President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, political opponents and pundits were quick to accuse him of obstruction of justice. At the time, there wasn’t much of a case for obstruction, since such a charge would require evidence that Trump intended to cover something up. Trump himself wasn’t under investigation at the time he fired Comey, and there was no indication that he was aware of any illegal activity. With former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleading guilty on Friday, that could all change.
According to Comey’s infamous memo describing his conversations with the president, Trump asked him to drop his investigation of Flynn. After Comey didn’t go along with the president’s alleged wishes, Trump fired him. Flynn’s guilty plea proves that he was guilty of a crime, and now he’s cooperating with Mueller’s investigation. Flynn reportedly said that he’s prepared to testify against Trump, and that prior to the election, Trump directed him to contact the Russians.
If Trump indeed prompted Flynn to engage in talks with Russia, there’s a decent chance that he was aware that Flynn lied to the FBI about his discussions with the Russian ambassador. Flynn’s cooperation could very well provide Mueller with the evidence he needs to nail Trump on an obstruction charge, which is an impeachable offense.
Of course, this is just one way that Flynn’s plea could end up hurting the president. So far, there is no evidence that the Trump or his campaign engaged in illegal activity in connection with Russia’s attempts to interfere with the election. We know that Donald Trump Jr. and others met with Russians with the hopes of getting dirt on Hillary Clinton, but there’s no evidence that there was anything illegal about the meeting. Flynn’s plea and subsequent cooperation may yield further evidence of wrongdoing by campaign officials
[Image via MSNBC screengrab]
Ronn Blitzer is the Senior Editor of Law&Crime and a former New York City prosecutor. Follow him on Twitter @RonnBlitzer
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.