[Insert expletives here] Michael Flynn
It was oh so long ago—why, last week!—when the MAGAsphere was all atwitter. Why? Because the judge handling Michael Flynn’s sentencing asked to see the transcripts of the FBI interviews with former, disgraced General Flynn. “Aha!” they said. “He’s going to blow open the FBI corruption!”
As usual: not quite.
Let us wind back a bit to those long-gone days—again, last week.
Flynn had just received the mulligans of all mulligans. He was getting a clean walk from prison time from Robert Mueller. Because of his cooperation, Mueller recommended no prison time. None. Nada. Niente. Rien. He was getting the full monty of sentencing recommendations. He was going to be a convicted felon, but he could remain a free man.
Then, as is often the case with these chuckleheads, he decided to get cute. At a pre-sentencing hearing, he and his lawyers tried to deflect blame for his lies onto the FBI agents questioning him. They entrapped him. They tricked him. They used a Jedi mind meld on him. It wasn’t his fault. He was a general, goddammit!
That’s when the judge ordered that the interview transcripts be provided to him. And we’re back to the place where the MAGAsphere went apeshit. For a few glorious moments they thought this jurist was going to not only not sentence Flynn, not only quash the plea deal, but also deal a deathblow to Mueller and the whole conspiracy against God Emperor Donald John Trump.
No, again, not quite.
Today the judge ordered the transcripts to be released, with the usual redactions. But what wasn’t redacted was enough.
Mikey Flynn was a big fat liar. He lied to the judge. He lied to the FBI. He lied about things which were lies. He lied so much that he didn’t know what was a lie and what was a previous lie. No one tricked him. As the poet sang, he played himself.
Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s bumbling attorney, spent the weekend screaming that everyone who has cut a deal with Mueller was tricked into it. What the Flynn interviews show is that, no, they cut deals because they were criminals, and Mueller was going to send them away for the rest of their natural lives.
Flynn was no sullied hero entrapped by a cunning prosecutor (persecuter?). He was and is a criminal in the service of a bigger criminal. And in a country like Russia, he would have been rewarded with sinecures and comfort.
But, thank God, this is still the United States of America, and we may be down, but we’re not out. We defeated slavers. We defeated the Kaiser. We defeated Hitler. We defeated our own demons (although that’s still a work in progress). As hard as the road is, we continue to improve ourselves. And the very fact that our institutions are so unwieldy is what gives them vibrancy. In a centralized European state, a dictator can arise, like in Russia or Hungary. The loci of power are so diffuse in the US that, unless a person has a backing of all national, state, and local institutions, it’s very difficult for a Juan Peron to arise and take control. Federalism, in the form of the Electoral College, is a pain. But federalism, in the form of state attorneys general fighting Trump tooth and nail and hobbling him, or a special counsel being appointed, or courts striking down egregious decisions by the regime, is saving us. It’s the worst form of government, except for all the others.
This regime thought it would be easy to overawe Americans and America’s institutions. But we’ve seen worse, and we’ve defeated worse. Flynn will be a blip. Trump will be a signal lesson. And the Republic—messy, infuriating, magnificent—will endure and continue to perfect itself.
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