Flynn Could be Key to Mueller’s Obstruction Investigation

By on December 11, 2017
Michael Flynn

Former national security adviser (and current cooperating witness) Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn is reportedly at the center of Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether or not President Trump obstructed justice when he pressured former FBI Director James Comey to stop an investigation into Flynn’s Russia connections, and then fired the FBI Director when he didn’t acquiesce.

Specifically, Mueller is reportedly looking at the 18-day period between the time that the White House was informed that Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail (Jan. 26) and Flynn’s firing (Feb. 13) to see if the president was actively trying to undermine a criminal investigation.

From NBC News:

Mueller is trying to determine why Flynn remained in his post for 18 days after Trump learned of Yates’ warning, according to two people familiar with the probe. He appears to be interested in whether Trump directed him to lie to senior officials, including Pence, or the FBI, and if so why, the sources said.

If Trump knew his national security adviser lied to the FBI in the early days of his administration it would raise serious questions about why Flynn was not fired until Feb. 13, and whether Trump was attempting to obstruct justice when FBI Director James Comey says the president pressured him to drop his investigation into Flynn. Trump fired Comey on May 9.

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates reportedly told White House Counsel Don McGahn on Jan. 26 about Flynn’s precarious position in terms of being a potential blackmail target because he lied about his Russia involvement. Trump officials reportedly knew about his involvement with Russia even before then, though. In Flynn’s plea deal, he says he talked with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in Dec. 2016, during the transition, about the potential of lifting sanctions against Russia. That conversation was allegedly held at the behest of Trump transition officials.

If the President and his campaign had been using Flynn as a major intermediary, it makes sense that would want to get the FBI off his trail and try to downplay his potential risk to the administration. It also explains how Mueller might be able to build an obstruction case against the president.