In case you missed it, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn didn't resign just because what he did looks bad. It may very well be illegal — and he also lied about it. Before the inauguration, Flynn spoke on the phone with the Russian ambassador, and now thanks to a Washington Post piece shedding light on the matter, he's out. That would look bad in and of itself. But his departure is all the more ironic since Flynn once lead "lock her up" chants for Trump rallies to demonize Hillary Clinton.
That's right. At the Republican National Convention, Flynn led the crowd in a big chant after a fiery speech on Clinton, which Twitter remembered Tuesday. "Lock her up" was trending during the early morning hours as users shared YouTube video of his speech.
At the RNC, Flynn said Clinton "put our nation's security at extremely high risk with her careless risk of a private email server." After the crowd chanted (and yes, he repeated it with them), Flynn had this to say:
You guys are good. Damn right. Exactly right. There's nothing wrong with that. And you know why we're saying that? We're saying that because if I, a guy who knows this business, if I did a tenth of what she did, I would be in jail today. So crooked Hillary Clinton, leave this race now.
It sure sounds different now. By comparison, all Clinton did was put documents on an arguably vulnerable private server (it never was hacked). Flynn's actions on the other hand put him at risk of being blackmailed by Russia, The Post reported.
Flynn had denied that he'd discussed sanctions being lifted under the future Trump Administration while President Obama was still president. But he did. And that's illegal.
There's a law called the Logan Act and it pretty much spells out what Flynn allegedly did:
Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
In his conversation with the Russian ambassador, Flynn said that Trump would reverse any new Obama sanctions when he was inaugurated, The Post reported. At the time he was a private citizen — and that negotiation went against the United States government's interests, which at the time was decided by President Obama.
If charged, he could spend three years in jail. With Republicans in charge, that's unlikely, but it hammers home the irony.