Reminding him of the president’s fondness for Flynn

The reason for Trump’s sudden new panic about Flynn, and his deranged threats to imprison Obama and Sally Yates and anyone else who warned him about Flynn while he didn’t listen, is even more startling than the panic and threats. It’s because a federal judge ruled yesterday that that part of the Mueller report must be made public.

A federal judge on Thursday ordered that prosecutors make public a transcript of a phone call that former national security adviser Michael Flynn tried hard to hide with a lie: his conversation with a Russian ambassador in late 2016.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in Washington ordered the government also to provide a public transcript of a November 2017 voice mail involving Flynn. In that sensitive call, President Trump’s attorney left a message for Flynn’s attorney reminding him of the president’s fondness for Flynn at a time when Flynn was considering cooperating with federal investigators. . . . Sullivan also ordered that still-redacted portions of the Mueller report that relate to Flynn be given to the court and made public.

Uh oh. “Reminding him of the president’s fondness for Flynn” – that’s witness tampering.

Jennifer Rubin explains:

The voice mail was from John Dowd, President Trump’s former personal lawyer who, according to The Post, “tried to learn whether Flynn had any problematic information about the president after Flynn’s attorney signaled his client might begin cooperating with Mueller’s investigators.”

The kicker: “In one of the previously redacted filings released Thursday, prosecutors said Flynn described multiple episodes in which ‘he or his attorneys received communications from persons connected to the Administration or Congress that could have affected both his willingness to cooperate and the completeness of that cooperation.’ ”

This may be the most significant revelation since we learned of the president’s efforts to fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Even Attorney General William P. Barr conceded in his infamous memo to the Justice Department, “Obviously, the President and any other official can commit obstruction in this classic sense of sabotaging a proceeding’s truth-finding function. Thus, for example, if a President knowingly destroys or alters evidence, suborns perjury, or induces a witness to change testimony, or commits any act deliberately impairing the integrity or availability of evidence, then he, like anyone else, commits the crime of obstruction.” Barr also told Senate Judiciary Committee members during his confirmation hearing that it would be illegal for a president to coach a witness or persuade a witness to change testimony.

The disclosure, of course, raises serious questions as to why Barr redacted this material in the report, and why evidence that Trump did precisely what Barr said was illegal did not convince him that the president had obstructed justice.

Good god. These people.

Even if we are not talking about criminal liability, the episode points to Trump’s unfitness for office. Former prosecutor Joyce White Vance tells me, “Knowing that the President’s lawyers sought to discourage Flynn from cooperating with prosecutors underscores how fundamentally flawed this presidency is. Mob bosses try to keep their associates from helping law enforcement uncover crimes, not presidents.”

But if you make a guy who has always operated like a mob boss president, then you get a mob boss president. And here we are.

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