The Future of Mueller’s Investigation: An Analysis
To those of us who practice federal criminal law when Michael Flynn’s lawyers notified President Donald J. Trumps lawyers that they could not share information with them any longer it was a clear signal that he was about to plead guilty and that he was working out a deal to offer testimony against others in favor of a reduced sentence for himself. This happens in virtually every multiparty federal criminal case.
So it was no surprise when he plead guilty and it was announced that he is, in fact, working with the government. His plea to one count that subjects him to a six-month term under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines is a clear indication of how strong Mueller thinks Flynn’s assistance is. Let me give you a little background on how this works. Flynn, before he plead, met with Mueller and his team on multiple occasions and was debriefed. They have asked him anything and everything they wanted. They recessed the meeting to do additional investigation and they came back together with more questions, perhaps several times. They will do it several more times. When you agree to plead guilty and testify for the government your agreement requires you to provide truthful information testify truthfully, if necessary, in all areas they ask you about. You don’t get to pick and choose what you will and will not testify about.
Piecing together what we know from the indictment and reporting there are several individuals who should be very nervous right now. K.T. McFarland, Kellyanne Conway, and, most importantly Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner are in my opinion squarely in Mueller’s crosshairs.
I posted earlier that Jared Kusher was playing fast and loose with the way he was turning over information for his security clearance. It continues and is only getting worse. With Flynn pulling him in into the middle of his, Flynn’s, decision to conduct direct talks with the Russians at times when he was not a public official is very problematic. Now to find that he was on a board run by his family that supported building in the West Bank, at a time that US law prohibited it that he failed to disclose on his national security clearance forms while directing talks about the issue at the UN. I do not see how Kushner escapes an indictment. He cannot continue to claim “I forgot” and not get called on lying to a federal officer. As the new revelations come out I keep thinking about his approaching the Russian Embassy about setting up a line in the embassy so he could have back-channel communications without the State Department knowing about it.
There is another indictment coming, it’s called a Superseding Indictment. That indictment will add some if not all of the parties above. It will accuse them of Obstruction of Justice, Lying to Federal Authorities, Conspiracy to Commit Obstruction of Justice, and Violations of the Hatch Act (Kellyanne Conway).
The question that is as yet unanswered, which was the main question from Watergate, eloquently stated by Howard Baker; “What did the President know and when did he know it”? This question will loom big and heavy over the Trump administration for a long time as House and Senate Committees continue to investigate alongside Mueller and his team. President Trump has tried to make this go away Flynn’s plea deal ensures it will not.