Let Republicans Explain Why the Flynn Felony Plea Is Just a Big Ol’ Nothingburger

Why is it no big deal that Michael Flynn pled guilty yesterday to a charge of lying to an FBI agent? Conservatives have run several excuses up the ol’ flagpole to see if anyone salutes. One tactic is to claim that everyone lies and it’s really not a big deal. A related gambit is to ignore the fact that Flynn is obviously being let off the hook because he’s cooperating with prosecutors, and pretend that the single charge of lying is all there is to this. Tucker Carlson went all in on this last night:

Nothing to see here folks. What’s more, according to Carlson, the big problem with special investigations like this is that often “they wind up entrapping people whose only crime is the false testimony they provide during the investigation.” This is close to a perfect description of Ken Starr investigation of Bill Clinton, and conservatives sure didn’t feel this way about perjury traps back in 1998. Back then, they thought that lying was a very serious crime indeed. I guess times change.

Another tack is to pretend that Flynn is just a minor functionary. According to the White House, he is a “former Obama official.” What’s more, they’re now claiming that the Obama administration authorized his talks anyway. It’s certainly odd that he felt the need to lie about it, then, isn’t it?

Finally, there’s the peculiar but oddly Trumpian defense: admit further guilt because you’re too dumb to realize what you’re doing.

No no no, Mr. President. You didn’t know Flynn had lied to the FBI back then! Remember? We’ve rehearsed this cover story over and over. But I guess it doesn’t matter. Trump basically admits to wrongdoing all the time, and somehow it never seems to matter. He’s confessed that he never would have appointed Jeff Sessions as Attorney General if he’d known he was going to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. He confessed on national TV that he fired James Comey because of the Russia investigation. He then admitted the same thing to the Russian ambassador, telling him that he “faced great pressure because of Russia,” but that it was all taken care of now that Comey had been canned.

This is a striking and novel strategy in American politics. I never would have thought of it myself. I guess that’s why I’m not president.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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