December 2, 2017
President Donald Trump’s short-lived national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Most US media jumped on the plea as proof of Trump’s collusion with Russia. Actual documents, however, tell a different story.
A court document signed by special counsel Robert Mueller, dated Thursday, specifies two instances of Flynn telling FBI investigators things that were not true. They relate to two conversations he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, in December 2016.
In the Statement of Offense signed by Flynn at his court appearance on Friday, he admitted to acting on instructions from a senior “Presidential Transition Team” (PTT) official, prompting breathless speculation if that was Trump himself, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, or someone else altogether. The one question nobody seems to be asking is, “So what?”
Flynn’s misleading of the FBI seems to stem from the Logan act. Well after the election, on Dec 29. Flynn tried to convince Russia to hold off expelling US diplomats & to not support a UN vote against Israel. His job–but also a potential Logan violation. https://t.co/4sNe5Dpq6l pic.twitter.com/hOjEYC1dHE
— Julian Assange 🔹 (@JulianAssange) December 1, 2017
It is intuitively obvious to even the most casual observer that Flynn’s “crime” is a procedural one: he told FBI investigators he hadn’t done a thing that he actually did. But was the thing he did – namely, speak with the Russian ambassador to the US – against the law? Not really.
Under the 1799 Logan Act, it is technically against the law for a private US citizen to engage in diplomacy. However, only two people have ever been indicted under that law, and no one has ever been prosecuted. Flynn was a member of the presidential transition team whose duties involved contacts with foreign diplomats. So why would the FBI even ask him about his…