Did Michael Flynn Break The Law? His Alleged Actions May Have Further Consequences
Remember just a few short months ago when the biggest political scandal we were worried about was whether or not Hillary Clinton's private email server was dangerous for our national security? Yes, those were the days. Now, with President Donald Trump in the White House, it seems we can't go a day without some sort of court case, angry tweet, or, as of yesterday, the resignation of one of Trump's appointees. Last night, Trump's national security advisor, Michael Flynn, resigned from his position in Trump's administration after reports seemed to prove he misled Vice President Mike Pence regarding his communications with Russia. While he is no longer in office, Flynn is still facing some possible issues with his actions, with many wondering: Did Michael Flynn break the law?
It's still unclear, but it certainly wouldn't be a shock if his transgressions didn't just fade away with his resignation. Reports have now confirmed that "President Trump was informed weeks ago that his [then-]national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, had not told the truth about his interactions with Russia’s ambassador and asked for Mr. Flynn’s resignation after concluding he could not be trusted, the White House said on Tuesday," according to The New York Times.
Romper has reached out to the White House and Justice Department Officials regarding any potential punishment and is awaiting a response.
The main issue surrounding Flynn's relationship with the Russian ambassador, is that, as The Washington Post reports, the Department of Justice "warned that the national security adviser was potentially vulnerable to Russian blackmail, current and former U.S. officials said."
After news broke that Flynn had been communicating with the Russian ambassador, he claimed that he hadn't discussed the Obama administration's sanctions towards Russia, or its alleged interference with the 2016 presidential election. However, after that initial statement, Flynn's spokesperson contacted The Washington Post to amend his account, stating that Flynn “couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.” And now, after his resignation, senior officials say Flynn may have skirted the law with his interactions with Russian officials, prior to his appointment, specifically the "Logan Act," a law which prohibits citizens from discussing matters of national security with outside officials or "from negotiating with foreign governments," according to CNN.
While White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer denied any legal issues with Flynn's resignation, the language surrounding the Logan Act might prove tricky for Flynn. Here's what the law states:
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.
As the phone call in question occurred before Trump took office, on Dec. 29, it's clear that Flynn probably wasn't authorized by the United States to discuss the sanctions with Russian officials.
As it stands, Flynn's actions are still questionable, even though he stepped down from power. Because he couldn't confirm whether or not the Obama sanctions came up in his discussion with Russian officials, it could very well be that Flynn has crossed the line, although only time will tell whether or not he'll be officially reprimanded for it.