The most notable aspect of the latest documents released by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller on Michael Flynn is the large swaths of redactions. So heavily censored are the sentencing documents that Twitter wasted no time in turning pictures of the pages into a trending meme.
When I talk about Marvel pic.twitter.com/afy0dYfR3L— Scott Derrickson (@scottderrickson) December 5, 2018
Ladies, if he’s:— marisa kabas (@MarisaKabas) December 5, 2018
He’s not your man. He’s Michael Flynn.
Cool thing about Mueller's Flynn sentencing memo is that if you flip it sideways it looks like a prison cell pic.twitter.com/8GtEb3mNgk— Adam Blickstein (@AdamBlickstein) December 5, 2018
Naturally, this makes it nearly impossible to see what Mueller is up to or what information the former national security adviser has provided to Mueller’s office. We do know that prosecutors urge no prison time for Michael Flynn because of his “substantial assistance” with the probe.
If this wasn’t foreboding enough, CNN’s chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, points to another line visible in the 13-page document; a line he believes ought to strike fear into the heart of Trump and every member of his inner circle:
The line mentions how Flynn’s “record of military and public service distinguish him from every other person who has been charged” in the Russia investigation, and that “senior government leaders should be held to the highest standards.”
Toobin told Anderson Cooper that this particular line should make Trump very afraid.
“The fact that he is saying ‘senior government leaders should be held to the highest standards,’ I would be a little nervous if I were the people involved in the obstruction of justice investigation, starting, of course, with the president of the United States,” he said.
Toobin continued, “I don’t think that is just filler material. I think that is a statement of how Mueller is going to approach the remainder of his investigation as he starts thinking about the people in the White House.”
Mueller's office says Flynn's "record of military and public service distinguish him from every other person who has been charged as part the SCO’s investigation" - a fact that speaks both to his character and suggests he should have known better. pic.twitter.com/TqRoeVp5sC— Brad Heath (@bradheath) December 5, 2018
Let us also not forget that Flynn initially pleaded guilty over a year ago, on December 1, 2017. Since that day, Flynn has met with Mueller’s team 19 times and his sentence has been delayed four times, leading many to wonder whether the former national security adviser might be the key to the entire Russia investigation.
As Toobin mentioned, the 13-page document is not for nothing. The courts would not recommend doling out zero prison time had Flynn not been of considerable help to the investigation at large. Flynn may be getting off relatively easy, but Mueller is making it clear that no other “senior government leaders” will be awarded a similar luxury.
The recommendation of no jail time for Flynn, apart from its obvious irony for the man who led chants of “lock her up,” reflects both the timeliness and significance of his help. That most of the details are redacted signals he has given far more than we or the President may know— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) December 5, 2018
To be clear, there is no evidence that the document in any way fingers Trump as the focus of the investigation. But as journalist Scott Stedman points out, “President Donald J. Trump” fits pretty neatly into this one redacted phrase.
So uh... pic.twitter.com/wkdIu9b2oR— Scott Stedman (@ScottMStedman) December 5, 2018