Author and commentator Ann Coulter analyzed news that retired Gen. Michael Flynn, who served briefly as President Donald Trump’s national security advisor, pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to FBI agents as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. Coulter spoke on The Mark Simone Show in response to the news.
As to the narrative over Russian meddling in the election and Flynn’s role in supposed collusion between Russian officials and the Trump political organization during the campaign, Coulter said, “Nothing has changed...There’s absolutely nothing new.”
Simone countered by saying that a report by Brian Ross of ABC News claims that “what Gen. Flynn will testify to, and this is after the election, that President Trump directed him to talk to make contact with the Russians. Now wouldn’t that prove that there was no possible collusion if they were just beginning to make contact after the election?”
Coulter agreed, saying “That’s an excellent point.” She admitted that lying to the FBI is a crime. When Simone said that he could not be certain that Flynn actually lied to the FBI, which he said “pretty much said they would indict his kid,” Coulter said that she thought he was correct.
Coulter recalled that the alleged communication between Flynn and Russian officials occurred during the transition from the Obama presidency to the Trump presidency, when “of course, the transition government reaches out to other governments. The whole system is about to switch, that’s the way our system of government works, and Obama had thrown out all those Russian spies out in Long Island.”
Referring to Flynn’s dismissal from the Trump administration in February, which was reportedly because he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russian officials, Coulter said it is not a crime to lie to the vice president. “That’s what Trump fired him for: it was portrayed as a lie...I don’t think that it was an intentional lie. Why would he do that? It would be stupid. It was, it is, an interpretation. That is: he tells the Russian ambassador [Sergey Kislyak] ‘Don’t overreact’...and this is what he is admitting today in the plea deal…”
Coulter went on to say that what Flynn also stated to the Russian diplomat may help his case. “He asked the Russian ambassador for Russia to either abstain or vote no on one of these U.N. resolutions condemning Israeli settlements,” said Coulter.
“What I want all your listeners to realize when they hear liberals acting as if this is a crime as great as murdering an American girl on a San Francisco pier after being deported five times [a reference Jose Garcia Zarate - the Mexican national who was acquitted of the murder of 32-year-old Kate Steinle] is that back in the 80s -- right before Ronald Reagan’s re-election, Sen. Ted Kennedy wrote a secret letter to the head of Soviet Union...It wasn’t today’s Russia promoting Christianity and fighting the Islamic terror threat, which is the only Russia that terrifies liberals. In 1983, Kennedy wrote to [Yuri] Andropov and the head of the KGB proposing to work with them to come to the U.S. to fight Ronald Reagan and defeat his ‘dangerous militarist policies.’”
The record shows that Kennedy, who had continued presidential ambitions, wanted to aid the Soviets in gaining media access in the U.S. Kennedy proposed that “lower level Soviet officials, particularly from the military,” should travel to the U.S. for a “series of television interviews” and “appeal directly to the American people about the peaceful intentions of the USSR.” John Tunney, who was a former congressman and U.S. Senator, traveled to Russia in 1983 to inform Soviet officials of Kennedy’s offer.
Coulter said that at the time, the Soviet Union was the enemy of the United States, which “Russia is not today. I would rather be allied with Russia today than with Germany and most of western Europe these days, they have totally switched sides about what the current threat is.” In Kennedy’s case, Coulter said he was secretly conspiring with the head of the KGB to bring down the president of the United States. She noted that there was no investigation or prosecution of Kennedy. The charge that Flynn faces, however, may bring a five-year prison sentence.
Flynn had initially refused to cooperate with special counselor Robert Mueller’s probe, according to Fox News, but he faced increasing legal debts and plans to sell his home to pay them off. Having learned that he could face further charges, Flynn’s lawyers informed the White House that he would no longer participate in information exchanges with other targets of the probe.
“My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel's Office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country,” Flynn said in a statement “I accept full responsibility for my actions.”
Multiple news outlets are reporting that it was Jared Kushner -- the president’s son-in-law -- who ordered Flynn to contact Russian officials during the transition about the UN resolution concerning Israeli settlements.
According to court documents filed by Mueller, Flynn lied when he told investigators that he did not ask then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak to "refrain from escalating the situation" in response to sanctions that Barack Obama had levied on Russia in response to meddling in the election, and about the UN sanctions. The conversations with Kislyak took place in December 2016, before Trump took office.