Michael Flynn attends a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Washington, DC, USA, 10 February 2017. 
JIM LO SCALZO/EPA

Flynn puts new distance between himself and Trump’s White House

Back in May, The Atlantic had an interesting piece quoting a source close to the White House saying Donald Trump is “worried about” Michael Flynn, the former National Security Adviser.

“[Trump] has questioned whether or not he should have fired Flynn,” the source said at the time. “They don’t know what Flynn’s going to say.”

The Rachel Maddow Show, 11/14/17, 9:27 PM ET

Shadow of Flynn legal jeopardy falls on Trump, Sessions

Matt Miller, former Justice Department spokesman, talks with Rachel Maddow about the nature of the case against disgraced Trump NSA Mike Flynn and whether that has implications for any obstruction of justice case that might be made against Trump.
Matt Miller, former Justice Department spokesman, talks with Rachel Maddow about the nature of the case against disgraced Trump NSA Mike Flynn and whether that has implications for any obstruction of justice case that might be made against Trump.
This came to mind reading the New York Times’ report on Thanksgiving.

Lawyers for Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, notified the president’s legal team in recent days that they could no longer discuss the special counsel’s investigation, according to four people involved in the case – an indication that Mr. Flynn is cooperating with prosecutors or negotiating a deal.

Mr. Flynn’s lawyers had been sharing information with Mr. Trump’s lawyers about the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, who is examining whether anyone around Mr. Trump was involved in Russian efforts to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

That agreement has been terminated, the four people said…. [T]he notification led Mr. Trump’s lawyers to believe that Mr. Flynn – who, along with his son, is seen as having significant criminal exposure – has, at the least, begun discussions with Mr. Mueller about cooperating.

There are still relevant details we don’t yet know, and there’s been no confirmation that Flynn is definitely cooperating with Mueller and the special counsel’s investigation.

But it opens the door to a provocative possibility.

Let’s not forget that NBC News reported a few weeks ago that Mueller’s team has “gathered enough evidence to bring charges” against Flynn and his son. One possible avenue for Flynn would be to flip on someone higher up the ladder – someone like, say, his former boss with the nice desk in the Oval Office.

To be sure, there are plenty of possibilities here. Maybe Flynn is talking to Mueller’s team, but nothing will come of the conversations. Maybe Flynn doesn’t have enough to offer. Maybe Flynn has important information to share, but it’s unrelated to the president.

The fact remains, however, that Trump personally spoke to then-FBI Director James Comey earlier this year about the Flynn matter, and according to Comey, the president said, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

What’s more, the Washington Post reported over the summer that senior White House officials also “sounded out top intelligence officials about the possibility of intervening directly” with Comey in order to “encourage the FBI to drop its probe of Michael Flynn.”

It’s as if Trump World went to quite a bit of trouble to try to help – some might even say interfere with an ongoing federal investigation – Flynn, who was a member of the president’s inner circle for quite a while.

Postscript: The Wall Street Journal also reported over the holiday weekend that Flynn was working on a Turkish-financed film attacking Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey’s government blames for all sorts of things. Mueller is reportedly investigating the project as part of the special counsel’s “wider probe into whether Mr. Flynn improperly concealed financial ties to Turkey and to Russia, according to people familiar with the matter.”