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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

UPDATED: A Change Of Direction For Michael Flynn

We're now seeing two things in the Michael Flynn case: First, the reasons behind Flynn's change of attorneys, and Second, the probable direction that Flynn's new team, led by Sidney Powell, is exploring. As I've previously stated, for a number of reasons, 

I have to assume that Powell intends to attack the entire basis for any case against Flynn--beginning with the very legitimacy of the investigations that led to his fateful interview with the FBI.

That is exactly the scenario that the new developments detailed below point toward, beginning with the case against Flynn's former partner, Bijan Kian. I won't deny that there is risk involved in this new tack by Flynn, but it's also the right thing to do. I have always been critical of Flynn for his guilty plea, because it seemed to me to involve him in making false statements to the court under oath. Adam Goldman has a story at the NYT that puts a strongly negative spin on these developments: Michael Flynn Changes His Story, Putting Him on Collision Course With Judge.

Here's what's going on.

Flynn previously claimed that he lied on FARA forms that he submitted to DoJ in the case involving Bijan Kian. Flynn is now saying that his former lawyers were the ones at fault for filing those forms with false or inaccurate information in them--that he did not knowingly do so. The practical result is this:

As a result of Mr. Flynn’s unexpected disclosure, federal prosecutors say they will no longer ask him to testify in the trial of a former business partner, Bijan Kian, who is accused of violating foreign lobbying disclosure laws. Prosecutors played down Mr. Flynn’s testimony, saying it was not vital to the case. Other “evidence alone,” they wrote, “is ample to convict the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt.” 
But Mr. Flynn’s testimony had been one of the reasons Judge Emmet G. Sullivan allowed Mr. Flynn to push back his sentencing, but his lawyers said he “cannot give that testimony because it is not true.”

The Bijan Kian trial was scheduled to begin next week, with Flynn as the key witness for the government. Now,

In the wake of Mr. Flynn’s reversal, federal prosecutors are now asserting that he is an unindicted co-conspirator rather than a cooperating witness and want to introduce his statements as evidence. Lawyers for Mr. Kian and Mr. Flynn both object vigorously to that move by prosecutors.

It seems clear that the government is trying to pressure Flynn into returning to his previous position--that he deliberately lied.

In response, Flynn's lawyers have filed a memorandum in opposition to the government's designation of Flynn as a co-conspirator. For months the government had stated that Flynn was a cooperating witness rather than a co-conspirator. Flynn's lawyers claim that to change that stance simply because Flynn has corrected his testimony smacks of retaliation.

Flynn's lawyers state that Flynn remains prepared to testify and that his testimony will be substantively the same--that his filings contained inaccurate information. The difference, of course, is that he will not say that he knowingly submitted inaccurate information because, he now says, that would be untrue. However, the government is trying to redesignate Flynn as an unindicted co-conspirator, which could prove prejudicial to Flynn in his own criminal case before Judge Sullivan.

In addition to blaming Flynn's previous lawyers, Flynn's new lawyers are also taking out after David Laufman, the former head of DoJ's Counterintelligence Section who reportedly resigned while under fire for his role in the Hillary email case. Laufman, of course, denies that he left DoJ under a cloud, but circumstances tell strongly against him. Here's that angle, and you'll be able to see that Goldman at the NYT is clearly going to bat for Laufman--stating as fact what is clearly simply Laufman's version:

Mr. Flynn’s lawyers also singled out David Laufman, the former counterintelligence chief at the Justice Department’s National Security Division. They said Mr. Laufman pressured Mr. Flynn’s previous lawyer into submitting the false paperwork. But Mr. Flynn’s new lawyers inaccurately described Mr. Laufman’s title at the time and insinuated inaccurately that he left the Justice Department under a cloud amid an internal investigation. 
“The attorneys’ claims are nutty and utterly without merit,” Mr. Laufman said in an interview.

Here is the passage of Flynn's Memo Opposing Designation of Flynn as Co-Conspirator in which Flynn's lawyers maintain that Flynn was pressured to admit to false statements. Flynn's lawyers maintain that the pressure was undue and that Flynn didn't realize the nature of the admissions that he was making:

Mr. Flynn trusted his former counsel who held themselves out as experts in this area of law. They had the facts, interviewed multiple people, and reviewed many documents and emails while he was incoming and then-serving National Security Advisor, then in the uproar attending his departure. In addition, former counsel had to decide what to file under extreme and unprecedented pressure from and extensive interactions with the National Security Division--including then-NSD head, David Laufman(6). Admittedly, former counsel had to make difficult judgment calls, and they did so with input from the NSD itself. As for the final filing, Mr. Flynn recalls only reading the cover letter. Regardless of what he read, he did not intend to or knowlingly make any false statements, and this is a complex area of law about which he knew nothing. 
(6) Mr. Laufman suddenly resigned "for personal reasons" on February 8, 2017, amid the Inspector General investigation of irregularities in the Clinton email investigation and the National Security Division. However, he remained in the Department long enough to pressure Mr. Flynn's FARA filing.

Interesting developments.

UPDATE 1: Per Techno Fog, Flynn and his legal team WIN.

Techno Fog‏

@Techno_Fog
NEW:
The Court in the Flynn Intel Group (FARA) case rules that the DOJ has not presented evidence sufficient to establish "evidence of a conspiracy" for the purposes of admitting the hearsay statements of alleged co-conspirators (Flynn).
Good news.

5:11 PM - 9 Jul 2019


19 comments:

  1. Something is rotten in Denmark. This reeks to high heaven. I am ashamed of these miscreants.

    Retaliation, intimidation, gag orders. Weissmann is gone. Who are creeps do this stuff? Is Barr giving these dopes the ropes to hang themselves?

    Why does the government have to contort itself into a pretzel to try to get Flynn. Maybe the name should be changed to the Department of Injustice.

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  2. "Is Barr giving these dopes the ropes to hang themselves?"

    That's what I wonder, too.

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  3. Michael Flynn was hired to lobby by a Turk, named Kamil Ekim Alptekin, who owned a company in the Netherlands.

    Flynn was not hired by the Turkish Government, but he registered belatedly for the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), only because the Alptekin contract had an appearance of lobbying for the Turkish Government.

    Now, very late in the game, Flynn has decided to deny the accusation that he ever was lobbying for the Turkish Government. In fact, he was lobbying only for Alptekin's private company, which is based in the Netherlands.

    I think that is the situation here.

    Flynn's lawyers and the US Government manipulated him into "admitting" falsely that he was lobbying for the Turkish Government. He never should have admitted so, because it was not true.

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    1. This is the case that his son was also involved in. His plea deal in his false statement was contingent on his cooperation in this case. If you read the whole motion you'll see that the FBI persistently tried to talk to his son about this when Flynn backed out--despite the fact that his son was represented by counsel and told them to talk to his lawyer. I presume this also means that any case against his son collapses. I'm amazed that it took so long for Flynn to figure this out. Credit to his new lawyers. No good would ever come from false "admissions."

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    2. Regarding your comment "I'm amazed that it took so long for Flynn to figure this out. Credit to his new lawyers. No good would ever come from false 'admissions.'", I have to wonder the following.

      If Flynn's attorney, Kelner, was the "expert", then is Kelner is a Deep Stater? How could Powell come in and so quickly unravel Flynn's dilemma?

      I may be off-base but it seems as though the Swamp is wide and deep.

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    3. I agree. Flynn's team does appear to hint at that question, without making an actual accusation.

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  4. This is a big deal, in my opinion. I have been waiting for this trial for quite a long time to see the answer to the question I have always had- is it a FARA violation if you don't know who is backing the client you represent. It was always clear to me, at least, that Flynn and his group weren't representing the Turkish government directly- the Turkish government was using front companies, so I have always wondered whether or not they even knew for sure who the real client was- if they didn't, and Flynn seems to now be claiming this explicitly, then the FARA filings were not knowingly false.

    If this trial goes forward, I would call Laufman as a witness were I the defense, and put the question to him directly- what did he know and when did he know it?

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    1. The answer is clearly no. I actually had a bunch of experience with FARA, researching it for work, in my previous life. The government's tactic was to bully Flynn into the admission and hopefully they'd never have to prove it in court but could use it. Unethical, if anyone asks me.

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    2. Why do we put up with this unethical behavior? Are we freer men for having so many laws on the books that can be used to bully and intimidate us?

      And what does it say about a government that uses tactics and "hopefully they'd never have to prove it in court but could use it."?

      And another question, why isn't the government sanctioned for talking to Flynn's son when they know that he has an attorney?

      As Lying Jim Comey would say, "So many questions."

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  5. Kamil Ekim Alptekin, who owned a company in the Netherlands, hired Michael Flynn's company to lobby the US Government. It seems that one of Alptekin's priorities was to compel the US Government to take action against Fethullah G├╝len, who was living in the USA.

    Of course, it's likely that Alptekin was a front for the Turkish Government.

    On the other hand, it's plausible that Alptekin was just a rich man who used some of his wealth to conduct covert operations abroad.

    I am reminded of H. Ross Perot, who died yesterday. He was an example of a wealthy man who used some of his wealth that way.

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    1. I've always said that Flynn's biggest problem was his apparent failure to understand that he had made powerful enemies in the Deep State.

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    1. Right. It's worthwhile reading the whole filing by Flynn's new legal team. Not sure who's responsible for how much of it--Sidney Powell seems to clearly be the lead on Flynn's criminal case before Sullivan, but the two cases obviously go hand in hand. This is why I started out above saying this filing is a hint at the tack that SP will be taking. Now Sullivan wants to talk to her about this. Could be very interesting.

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    2. I wonder if Sullivan just says to the government, "Sorry, folks, no deal." I'm not a lawyer but to my layman's eyes, this is a joke. Except it's not funny for Flynn.

      The other judge in the Bijan Kian trial apparently shut down the government's argument regarding Flynn being a co-conspirator.

      The toher Judge in the

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  7. This comment follows up my previous comment, where I linked to a CTH comment, which I called insightful but did not summarize.

    For me, the CTH comment's most interesting element is that someone arranged for Michael Flynn to meet with “two foreign minsters from Turkey” in about September 2016.

    The CTH commenter suggests that this meeting was arranged to create "evidence" that Flynn knew that the lobbying contract was with the Turkish Government -- not merely with the Turkish individual Alptekin.

    In other words, the arranged meeting between Flynn and the "two foreign ministers" was similar to the arranged meeting between some Trump staffers and the Veselnitskaya group in Trump Tower. Although both meetings were very short and unproductive, both meetings were used to create an appearance of collusion with foreign governments.

    It seems that this arranged meeting between Flynn and the two foreign ministers turned out to be key evidence that he knew that the Alptekin was an obvious front for the Turkish Government.

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    1. As I said above, Flynn didn't seem to understand that he had powerful Deep State enemies who really were out to get him. Fortunately, Sidney Powell seems to understand that. It may be late, but better than never, that he has clear eyed counsel.

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    2. My hope is that even more important than Sydney Powell as clear eyed counsel(and no disrespect to her at all), the American People become clear eyed citizenry.

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  8. In my current grand theory of the alleged "Enterprise" in Trump's campaign staff, the FBI's yarn was that Michael Flynn intended to use some of Hillary Clinton's e-mails that had been provided to him by Kamil Ekim Alptekin.

    The yarn goes that Clinton's e-mails had been stolen by Russian Intelligence, which shared some of them with Turkish Intelligence, which passed them on to its front-man Alptekin, who provided them to his lobbyist Flynn.

    These particular e-mails indicated that Secretary of State Clinton had -- in exchange for donations to the Clinton Family Foundation -- arranged corruptly for a large number of visas to be provided to Turkish terrorists to work as teachers for Gulen's schools in the USA.

    Flynn, acting secretly on Trump's behalf, would arrange for this corruption to be revealed by releasing the e-mails to the public -- probably via Wikileaks -- a short time before the US Presidential election.

    This plot had been discovered, however, by the FBI's brilliant and heroic counter-intelligence investigators, who thwarted the plot. Those particular e-mails never have been released to the public, not even to the present day.

    However, Flynn -- expecting Trump to lose the election on November 8, 2016 -- wrote an article, published on Election Day, that summarized the corruption.

    Thus the FBI's yarn about the alleged Russian collusion of the "Enterprise" within Trump's campaign staff includes Flynn's lobbying about Turkish issues.

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    1. Here's the problem I see re using the Turkish connection for in the Russia collusion narrative. I don't doubt that the FBI and CIA were intensely interested in making what use they could of Flynn's lobbying on Turkish issues at some point. However, for purposes of the Russia Hoax and the "enterprise" narrative of Crossfire Hurricane they needed a Russian connection--they got that from Flynn's Moscow trip and having met Svetlana Lokhova. Yes, it's extremely threadbare stuff when examined, but all they had to do was weave it in among the Manafort, Page, Papadopoulos narratives. I don't say it's impossible to have woven the Turkish thing into the Russia Hoax, but more difficult for sure.

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