Mueller Recommends No Jail Time for Michael Flynn

Late yesterday, Special Counsel Bob Mueller finally issued the expected memo detailing his sentencing recommendations for Michael Flynn, Donald Trump's former National Security Adviser who has been cooperating with Mueller's investigation into collusion with Russia.

Mueller recommended "a sentence that does not impose a term of incarceration," citing Flynn's "substantial assistance" with "several ongoing investigations, including its probe of coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government."

The heavily redacted memo further indicates that "the investigations in which he has provided assistance are ongoing," including "a criminal investigation — apparently separate from the collusion probe — that remains totally secret."

Last night, I noted: "Mueller recommends no prison time for Flynn because he's been cooperating. Cool reward for committing treason but being super upfront about it after you were caught."

Naturally, that resulted in immediate patronizing pushback about how I just don't understand that prosecutors need to cut deals sometimes. Which is hardly the point. Of course I understand that prosecutors need to cut deals. My issue is that Mueller is recommending the absolute minimum within the confines of the deal he struck, which had a paltry maximum in the first place.

And, to be frank, I have a real problem with someone who committed crimes as significant as Flynn has, which abetted the elevation and empowerment of a man who seeks to destroy this nation and marginalized people within it, getting off with a pat on the head for helping out.

There are people serving life sentences because they were found in possession of a joint on a "third strike." Meanwhile, Mike "Lock Her Up" Flynn is going to walk. That isn't justice.

Perhaps I would feel better if this were an exception to this investigation, but, so far, it's par for the course: George Papadopoulos walks in exchange for cooperating. Paul Manafort would have walked in exchange for cooperating, if only he'd kept his nose minimally clean for a short period of time. Flynn is going to walk for cooperating. And Michael Cohen probably will, too.

That's a lot of walking. And I'm seeing a whole lot of "it's all worth it if it means we get Trump out of office," which is just a wild expectation. Even more wild is the expectation that this investigation will result in getting Trump and Mike Pence out of office. And by "wild," I mean totally unjustifiable.

A year and a half ago, I warned against having unreasonable expectations, not because believing that Trump should be removed from office is inherently unreasonable, but because it's an unreasonable expectation based on what is possible and likely.

I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think that Mueller's investigation is going to end with Trump being marched out of the Oval Office in handcuffs, or anything like it. Which is why I can take no solace in letting traitors walk as part of this investigation.

It seems an awfully high cost just to get to a truth that has long been apparent.

* * *

At this point, I suspect that the biggest role the Mueller investigation has to play is to create the public rationale for Senate Republicans to vote to impeach, so they can install Pence.

As I've previously speculated, when Trump isn't of use to them anymore, they'll just get rid of him in exchange for Pence. And then they'll claim to be heroes for holding their own president accountable.

It would really be something if House Democrats, newly the majority again, drafted articles of impeachment against Trump, and Senate Republicans "reluctantly" supported the measure, but assured their base it was the right thing to do, meanwhile garnering extraordinary headlines about being ethical patriots, as they move to install an authoritarian dominionist who was on his way to losing his reelection bid for the governorship of Indiana when Manafort plucked him from the precipice of obscurity to be second in line to a dude colluding with the Russians to capture the White House.

In a month and a half, Pence can assume the presidency and still run for two more full times. Let's see what happens then.

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