At some point, everything around Michael Flynn is going to collapse and he's going to need lawyers to help him out of this jam:
New documents released Thursday by the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee appear to show that ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn took money from three Russian companies, including the state-run RT news organization, prior to becoming an adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign.
Flynn, who spoke at RT’s 10th anniversary gala in December 2015, told Yahoo News on July 18, 2016 that he had been paid for his appearance at the event by his speaker’s bureau, Leading Authorities, Inc., and not by the Russian government.
In fact, according to documents provided to the House Oversight Committee and published by the ranking Democrat on that committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), RT paid the entirety of the $33,750 speaking fee to Flynn Intel Group, including additional travel expenses, in addition to a $11,250 commission for LAI, in November 2015. Additional documents show the speaker’s bureau communicating directly, and coordinating payments with, a manager at RT.
A spokesperson for Flynn told the Wall Street Journal that he had notified the Defense Intelligence Agency of his RT appearance.
Cummings' documents also showed one $11,250 payment each to Flynn from Volga-Dnepr Airlines and Kaspersky Government Security Solutions, Inc. in July 2015.
Following the release of the documents, top Democrats on the House Oversight, Armed Services, Judiciary, Homeland Security, Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs Committees called for an investigation of Flynn’s compliance with the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.
Flynn was engaged in collecting money from various Russians in laughably small amounts. Let's say you're a former three-star general who used to run the Defense Intelligence Agency. When a Russian company offers you ten or eleven thousand dollars, the first thing you should do is laugh politely and refuse to take the money. Not Flynn. He rammed that cash in his pants and went looking for more.
That right there is reason enough for Congress to hold seven or eight hearings into what he knew and what he did and what the Trump people knew about it. I suppose the only defense there is comes down to this--Michael Flynn is the stupidest military intelligence officer in the history of the military intelligence corps.
What happens when Flynn (and I will not refer to him by his rank because I believe his status as a retired general officer is what is really in danger here) decides that he doesn't want to go to jail? What happens if they reduce him in rank to Lieutenant Colonel and have him forfeit retirement benefits? What happens if this becomes a criminal matter because, well, there's that little thing about lying on his Standard Form 86 that comes into play here?
I'll tell you what happens. In all likelihood, Flynn rolls over on the Trump campaign, but not Trump himself. Flynn could be used to ensnare a few of Trump's closest associates. Is it possible for Flynn to end up on the other side of this with only a bruised ego and a reduction in retired rank to two star general? Absolutely. And Trump would probably find a way to pardon him, if there's a legal pathway to that scenario. But what should really be focused on here is the link between Trump and Flynn. They campaigned together, they were part of the transition, and Flynn was national security advisor for about a minute and a half. If he's not Trump's worst mistake, he's in the top twenty-five.
Oh, and I still can't believe that I traded Representative Elijah Cummings for Representative Will Hurd. That's my biggest mistake.