Starting with the mysterious guilty plea of Michael Flynn, the editors argue the 2016 Russia files should be completely released.
The problem with redacted Russia files is that we have no reason to trust the ones doing the redacting. The FBI itself is under suspicion and there is no reason to give them control of what evidence anyone else receives.
The guilty plea of Michael Flynn is an instance of the problem. We were told that he lied to the FBI, and then we heard that the interviewers did not think he was lying. James Comey has been insisting that he did, in fact, lie. But with the release of a “less redacted” document we now know that Comey has been giving false information.
We need the documents released without the FBI hiding their content.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes, “The Mystery of Michael Flynn’s Guilty Plea.”
Now comes confirmation from a less redacted version of the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia report released late Friday.[…]
Recall that the inconsistency concerned whether Mr. Flynn had discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Vice President Mike Pence had said publicly that Mr. Flynn had not discussed sanctions, and once it came to light that he had, Mr. Flynn resigned.
But Mr. McCabe also nonetheless told the House Intelligence Committee that “‘the two people who interviewed [Flynn] didn’t think he was lying, [which] was not [a] great beginning of a false statement case.’”
All of this relates to the mystery of why Mr. Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements. It made little sense for him to lie since as a seasoned intelligence officer he would know the U.S. eavesdrops on the Russian ambassador. He also willingly sat for the FBI interview with no legal counsel, suggesting he felt no risk in doing so.
Certainly the statements about the FBI agent’s impression of Mr. Flynn would not have helped Mr. Mueller’s case at trial had Mr. Flynn not pleaded guilty. The plea deal noted that Mr. Flynn’s sentence would depend on his “assistance in the investigation,” and perhaps Mr. Flynn felt he lacked the money to defend himself in court. He also may have wanted to spare his son, whom Mr. Mueller was also targeting.
In any case it is a dubious practice for a prosecutor to force a cooperating witness to plead guilty to a crime he didn’t commit.
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