Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn leaves federal court in Washington, Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to making false statements to the FBI, the first Trump White House official to make a guilty plea so far in a wide-ranging investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The saga of Mike Flynn took a very strange turn today when the Department of Justice abruptly dropped Flynn as a witness in the bullsh** FARA trial of his former business associate, Bijan Kian. Kian is accused of lobbying for Turkey without filing the proper forms. (Someone should point out to Justice that the Washington Post’s editorial page acted as a lobbyist for Qatar and for Turkey while it was pushing the Khashoggi story.) Flynn pleaded guilty to the same offense and was expected to be the government’s star witness.

Last month, however, Flynn and his longtime counsel parted ways in a rather cool manner and Flynn hired an attorney who has expressed public skepticism over the entire conduct of the Flynn case: Sidney Powell. So today was a different day:

Mr. Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to F.B.I. agents about conversations with the Russian ambassador at the time about sanctions. Mr. Flynn also admitted to prosecutors for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, that he had repeatedly violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, the law requiring firms to register their work on behalf of foreign clients. He acknowledged making “materially false statements and omissions” in those filings.

In the wake of Mr. Flynn’s reversal, federal prosecutors are now asserting that he is an unindicted co-conspirator rather than a cooperating witness and want to introduce his statements as evidence. Lawyers for Mr. Kian and Mr. Flynn both object vigorously to that move by prosecutors.

Lawyers for Mr. Flynn suggested that the government’s new position was possibly in “retaliation for Mr. Flynn’s truthful testimony the government does not like.” His lawyers also said that Mr. Flynn’s testimony would remain consistent with the facts of his plea deal and his statement of the offense. “When Mr. Flynn agreed in his ‘statement of offense’ in Judge Sullivan’s court that certain information in the FARA filing was false, he was doing so with some hindsight,” Mr. Flynn’s lawyers wrote.

The gambit, to paraphrase a Twitter thread by The Federalist’s Margot Cleveland runs like this. Nothing Flynn told prosecutors is very usable because Flynn will not be called to testify, he can’t be cross examined, and, therefore, it becomes hearsay. A statement by an unindicted co-conspirator is admissible. As Cleveland says, all of this begs the question of why the government just doesn’t call Flynn and have him testify? After all, Powell is not walking back from the guilty plea.

Part of that answer may be in Powell’s filing:

The evidence collected by Flynn’s current defense Attorney Sidney Powell, who recently replaced Flynn’s former defense attorney Robert Kelner, sheds new light on the extraordinary tactics used to target and retaliate against Flynn, according to the filing.

Further, Powell’s submission to the court also reveals that Flynn and his attorneys were under extreme pressure to file a Foreign Agents Registration Act in February, 2017 by David Laufman, the former head of the National Security Division.

Flynn was forced to file his FARA registration in February 2017, “under extreme and unprecedented pressure from extensive interactions with the National Security Division including then- NSD head David Laufman.” Laufman resigned shortly after on Feb. 8, 2017, during DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s investigation into the FBI’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server to send classified emails.

Further, Flynn’s former counsel had advised prosecutors that “Mr. Flynn did not know and did not authorize signing the FARA form believing there is anything wrong in it. He honesty answered the questions his former counsel posed to him to the best of his recollection, and some with the benefit of hindsight.”

The government would probably rather this can of worms not be opened.

Needless to say, this development has led to an outbreak of explosive diarrhea on the left. Seth Abramson couldn’t quite make it to the little boy’s room on time and befouled himself:

and then he sat in it and rubbed it in his hair

This is a fairly high risk strategy for Powell and Flynn to pursue in the eleventh hour and before a judge who seems more that willing to send Flynn to jail. But the very fact that Flynn was willing to do this, to me, adds credence to the story that he was set up, railroaded, and convinced to lie in order to save his son from being indicted.

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