Friday, May 15, 2020

How would President Obama be reacting to the collapse of the case against Michael Flynn if Flynn were a black teen?

Don’t Shrug at Obama’s Michael Flynn Scandal

It sure seems like an unconscionable attempt to take out a political enemy with state power.
How would President Obama be reacting to the collapse of the case against Michael Flynn if Flynn were a black teen?
Picture a racist white FBI agent who hates a black student and became enraged when that teen publicly insulted one of the agent’s close friends. Say the FBI sends two guys over to the teen’s house, claiming it suspects him of being involved in drug trafficking, and starts asking the kid questions in hopes that the kid will lie.

Suppose the FBI does not read the kid his rights before questioning him. Suppose the FBI discourages the kid from hiring a lawyer and tells the kid its investigation is friendly, not an effort to incriminate him. Suppose further that the FBI, after grilling the kid, still doesn’t think he lied (but merely that he forgot details of things he’d been asked about). Suppose the FBI then dragged out the case so long that the kid rang up $5 million in legal bills, then threatened to arrest the kid’s mother. Suppose the FBI withheld exculpatory evidence from the kid’s lawyers and agreed to leave the kid’s mother alone if he pleaded guilty — but didn’t tell the judge about this side deal.
If the teen finally pleaded guilty to a single count of making false statements, would Obama then say, “Aha! Justice is served! The kid admits being guilty!”? If the prosecutors, years later, finally dropped the case against the kid, would Obama say, “You begin to get worried that basic — not just institutional norms — but our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk” because he thought the kid deserved everything that had happened to him?
All of the above is pretty much exactly what happened to Michael Flynn. Except the team that went after Michael Flynn didn’t hate him because of racial difference; they hated him because of political difference. The personal insult Flynn delivered was when he publicly went after Hillary Clinton, leading the cries to “Lock her up” at the Republican National Convention. The FBI did indeed fail to advise Flynn that they were targeting him rather than seeking information about phone calls with the Russian ambassador that they had already listened to. They discouraged him from having a lawyer present and didn’t read him anything like the Miranda warning. They did indeed pour so much trouble on Flynn that he amassed some $5 million in legal bills (and had to put his house up for sale). They didn’t initially think that he had lied, but merely had a faulty memory. Instead of threatening his mother, the FBI threatened to indict his son, and someone leaked this to the media so that Flynn’s son’s reputation would be damaged in any event. And the FBI did indeed withholdexculpatory evidence from Flynn’s lawyers.

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