After the news broke that Gen. Michael Flynn, former National Security Advisor to President Trump, had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI regarding his post-election communications with Russian officials, progressive social media lit up with joy:
Given the reaction from progressives on social media, one could be forgiven for thinking that we are mere moments away from President Trump being charged with collusion; that the months-long investigation into whether or not the president was holding hands with the Russian government as they attempted to meddled in our election is coming to a close; that #TheResistance has won, and that Trump will be impeached and exit the White House in disgrace.
Not so fast. Here’s the relevant information we actually know – Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI regarding conversations he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December of 2016, as well as conversations he had with multiple countries about a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) vote.
The exact text of the plea reads in part:
On or about January 24, 2017, Flynn agreed to be interviewed by agents from the FBI (“January 24 voluntary interview”). During the interview, Flynn falsely stated that he did not ask Russia’s Ambassador to the United States (“Russian Ambassador”) to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia. Flynn also falsely stated that he did not remember a follow-up conversation in which the Russian Ambassador stated that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of Flynn’s request. In truth and in fact, however, Flynn then and there knew that the following had occurred:
a. On or about December 28, 2016, then-President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13757, which was to take effect the following day. The executive order announced sanctions against Russia in response to that government’s actions intended to interfere with the 2016 presidential election (“U.S. Sanctions”).
b. On or about December 28, 2016, the Russian Ambassador contacted Flynn.
c. On or about December 29, 2016, Flynn called a senior official of the Presidential Transition Team (“PTT Official”), who was with other senior members of the Presidential Transition Team at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, to discuss what, if anything, to communicate to the Russian Ambassador about the U.S. sanctions. On that call, Flynn and the PTT official discussed the U.S. Sanctions, including the potential impact of those sanctions on the incoming administration’s foreign policy goals. The PTT official and Flynn also discussed that the members of the Presidential Transition Team at Mar-a-Lago did not want Russia to escalate the situation.
d. Immediately after his phone call with the PTT official, Flynn called the Russian Ambassador and requested that Russia not escalate the situation and only respond to the U.S. Sanctions in a reciprocal manner.
e. Shortly after his phone call with the Russian Ambassador, Flynn spoke with the PTT official to report on the substance of his call with the Russian Ambassador, including their discussion of the U.S. Sanctions.
f. On or about December 30, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin released a statement indicating that Russia would not take retaliatory measures in response to the U.S. Sanctions at that time.
g. On or about December 31, 2016, the Russian Ambassador called Flynn and informed him that Russia had chosen not to retaliate in response to Flynn’s request.
h. After his phone call with the Russian Ambassador, Flynn spoke with senior members of the Presidential Transition Team about Flynn’s conversations with the Russian Ambassador regarding the U.S. Sanctions and Russia’s decision not to escalate the situation.
During the January 24 voluntary, Flynn made additional false statements about calls he made to Russia and several other countries regarding a resolution submitted by Egypt the United Nations Security Council on December 21, 2016. Specifically Flynn falsely stated that he only asked the countries’ positions on the vote, and that he did not request that any of the countries take any particular action on the resolution. Flynn also stated that the Russian Ambassador never described to him Russia’s response to Flynn’s request regarding the resolution.
In addition to his guilty plea, Flynn has agreed to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s ongoing collusion investigation, and “is prepared to testify that Donald Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians, initially as a way to work together to fight ISIS in Syria,” reports ABC News.
That’s all we know.
As of this moment, nothing has changed in terms of the collusion narrative. Perhaps Flynn has dirt on members of the Trump administration or the president himself; perhaps his plea will lead to damaging information coming to light. “Perhaps” is also an easy word to toss around, and in the end, it amounts to pure speculation.
So progressives might want to hold off on the ticker tape parade.