So why did Flynn lie?

Much has been made of why Special Counsel Robert Mueller prosecuted former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  But what about the lie itself, which President Trump has noted on Twitter was a pretty useless lie?

I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2017

The conventional wisdom, as UCLA law professor Harry Litman lays out, is that Flynn "knew" that talking with the Russians, or rather, "negotiating" with them, as he extends the term, was "wrong and inimical to U.S. interests."  I notice he doesn't use the word "illegal," and from a law professor, that's significant.  Just "wrong."

As Jack Posobiec has found, it was actually all right.

I think Flynn lied because he was afraid.  And he was afraid because he's a Washington swamp creature, even if a Trump-friendly one.

In the Washington swamp culture, nothing is worse than talking to a Russian.

Russia is our worst enemy, supposedly, and great amounts of spydom and security clearances hinge on keeping Russia as big an enemy as possible.  More enemy, more government funds for the bureaucracies that hunt Russian spies.  And more specifically, talk to a Russian, lose your security clearance.  It no longer matters if you have had five wives and ten mistresses, smoked a ton of pot, have a minor criminal record, live with your girlfriend, practice devil-worship, or have mental health issues.  As we have seen in recent years, pretty much anyone can get a security clearance these days; nothing personal will exclude you, no matter how risky.  Ed Snowden shacking up with his pole-dancing girlfriend out in Hawaii is Exhibit A.  That leaves just mere contact with the Russians as the main taboo, since something has to be taboo, or why else does anyone need a security clearance? 

So Flynn, who White House officials have told me was never as pro-Russia as he was portrayed, lived in this swamp culture for years, and he was Russia-phobic like the rest of them.

Meanwhile, out in the business world, where President Trump hailed from, there were no such taboos.  Businessmen who have been doing business with Russian firms have often had good experiences, and that has translated to goodwill.  It wasn't just Trump; it was many American and European businesspeople.  Trump's pro-Russia stance was appealing to people not affiliated with the state for this very reason.

Flynn likely lied to the FBI out of a reflexive swamp culture mentality of it always being bad to talk to the Russians.  Had he been fully on board with Trump mentally instead, he would have gladly and loudly told Mueller's team: "Sure, I talked to the Russians, and we discussed sanctions and what we plan to do when in office," which is hardly "negotiating," as the UCLA law professor argues.  It's just talking.

It certainly would explain Trump's astonished tweet about Flynn, given that nothing illegal was going on.

The UCLA law professor made some good points about how such discussions with Russians could gum up other diplomatic maneuvers.  But that underlines why it's important for the Obama administration, not the incoming Trump team, to brief the Trump group and keep them informed before the inevitable change of power occurs.  Obviously, they didn't.

And now poor Flynn is being swallowed by his own swamp.  His problem is that he couldn't get out – not even when he joined Team Trump.

Much has been made of why Special Counsel Robert Mueller prosecuted former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  But what about the lie itself, which President Trump has noted on Twitter was a pretty useless lie?

I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2017

The conventional wisdom, as UCLA law professor Harry Litman lays out, is that Flynn "knew" that talking with the Russians, or rather, "negotiating" with them, as he extends the term, was "wrong and inimical to U.S. interests."  I notice he doesn't use the word "illegal," and from a law professor, that's significant.  Just "wrong."

As Jack Posobiec has found, it was actually all right.

I think Flynn lied because he was afraid.  And he was afraid because he's a Washington swamp creature, even if a Trump-friendly one.

In the Washington swamp culture, nothing is worse than talking to a Russian.

Russia is our worst enemy, supposedly, and great amounts of spydom and security clearances hinge on keeping Russia as big an enemy as possible.  More enemy, more government funds for the bureaucracies that hunt Russian spies.  And more specifically, talk to a Russian, lose your security clearance.  It no longer matters if you have had five wives and ten mistresses, smoked a ton of pot, have a minor criminal record, live with your girlfriend, practice devil-worship, or have mental health issues.  As we have seen in recent years, pretty much anyone can get a security clearance these days; nothing personal will exclude you, no matter how risky.  Ed Snowden shacking up with his pole-dancing girlfriend out in Hawaii is Exhibit A.  That leaves just mere contact with the Russians as the main taboo, since something has to be taboo, or why else does anyone need a security clearance? 

So Flynn, who White House officials have told me was never as pro-Russia as he was portrayed, lived in this swamp culture for years, and he was Russia-phobic like the rest of them.

Meanwhile, out in the business world, where President Trump hailed from, there were no such taboos.  Businessmen who have been doing business with Russian firms have often had good experiences, and that has translated to goodwill.  It wasn't just Trump; it was many American and European businesspeople.  Trump's pro-Russia stance was appealing to people not affiliated with the state for this very reason.

Flynn likely lied to the FBI out of a reflexive swamp culture mentality of it always being bad to talk to the Russians.  Had he been fully on board with Trump mentally instead, he would have gladly and loudly told Mueller's team: "Sure, I talked to the Russians, and we discussed sanctions and what we plan to do when in office," which is hardly "negotiating," as the UCLA law professor argues.  It's just talking.

It certainly would explain Trump's astonished tweet about Flynn, given that nothing illegal was going on.

The UCLA law professor made some good points about how such discussions with Russians could gum up other diplomatic maneuvers.  But that underlines why it's important for the Obama administration, not the incoming Trump team, to brief the Trump group and keep them informed before the inevitable change of power occurs.  Obviously, they didn't.

And now poor Flynn is being swallowed by his own swamp.  His problem is that he couldn't get out – not even when he joined Team Trump.

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