Should Trump and Putin be Afraid of Mike Flynn?
Mike Flynn, Trump’s ex-National Security adviser, has suggested that he is willing to testify against the Trump campaign’s alleged links to Russia, in exchange for immunity. The offer has not yet been accepted by the officials.
In September 2016, Flynn had said that “When you’re given immunity, you’ve probably committed a crime.” So probably, Trump’s fired aide has a few things to worry about if he is asking for immunity, but that also indicates that possibly Trump and Putin might have a few secrets themselves.
Mike Flynn and Sergei Kislyak
Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner has said in a statement released on Thursday that, "General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit." He also added: "No reasonable person, who has the benefit of advice from counsel, would submit to questioning in such a highly politicized, witch-hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution."
The intelligence committees of the US Senate and the House of Representatives are investigating the allegations of Russian interference in the US election campaign and the alleged ties of Trump’s campaign and Russian intelligence. Flynn’s testimony could help clarify those Russian conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the US Sergei Kislyak during Trump’s campaign. Flynn was later, in February, forced to resign when he failed to disclose to Mike Pence he had contacts with the Russian official about US sanctions on Moscow. The Department of Justice had warned the White House about Flynn’s vulnerable position, his concealment of crucial information and the extent of his communications with Russia, which made him susceptible to blackmail. In addition, Flynn got $68,000 from Russian-affiliated companies in 2015, mainly from the Russian government TV channel RT.
Barack Obama had imposed sanctions after the alleged Russian hacking of the presidential election, in late December. The Obama administration described Russian meddling in the US election as “Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities" and sanctioned four Russian individuals and five entities for the interference. 35 Russian diplomats were ordered to leave the US while two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland were closed. The sanctions include the GRU and the FSB, Russia’s intelligence services, four officers of the GRU and three companies that supported the GRU’s activities. Two additional individuals, Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev and Alexey Belan have also been sanctioned for hacking in order to misuse funds and access personal information.
A White House statement said: "Russia's cyberactivities were intended to influence the election, erode faith in US democratic institutions, sow doubt about the integrity of our electoral process, and undermine confidence in the institutions of the US government. These actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Putin reacted to the expulsions of Russian officials by closing the Anglo-American School of Moscow, which was attended by children of US, British, and Canadian embassy employees as well as those of US and foreign officials. The Russian government’s order also closed the US embassy vacation house in Serebryany Bor, close to Moscow. The Russian embassy in the UK criticised the US government’s actions by tweeting an image of a duck with the title “Lame.” The notion of Obama being a “lame duck”—an elected official who no longer has any influence because his successor has already been elected—doesn’t mean that he has to remain passive to issues of national security, particularly, when Trump himself was especially vocal about his perceived friendly, but naïve feelings towards Putin.
But, while Russia might playfully dismiss its alleged connection to the Trump campaign, despite Putin’s obvious hatred for Hillary Clinton, the Russian government takes such things seriously: we know how most of Putin’s critics end up. The Russian and US alleged connections are becoming a heated subject that won’t go away any time soon. As for Mike Flynn, let’s remember that at the Republican party convention, he was chanting “lock her up”, in regards to Hillary Clinton, but it appears he is in much deeper trouble, otherwise he wouldn’t be asking for immunity from prosecution.