The Non-Crime Of ‘Lying To The FBI’ – OpEd
By Ilana Mercer*
In a fit of pique in 2016, then-President Barack Obama expelled Russian diplomats from the United States. K. T. McFarland, Michael Flynn‘s deputy in the Trump transition team, worried that Obama’s expulsion of the diplomats was aimed at “boxing Trump in diplomatically,” making it impossible for the president to “improve relations with Russia,” a promise he ran on. (For her perspicacity, McFarland has since been forced to lawyer-up in fear for her freedom.)
To defuse President Obama’s spiteful maneuver, Flynn spoke to Ambassador Kislyak, the upshot of which was that Russia “retaliated” by inviting US diplomats and their families to the Kremlin for a New Year’s bash.
Was a crime committed by Flynn in this exchange and subsequent meeting? Not according to the FBI. Laying the cornerstone for the president-elect’s promised foreign policy —diplomacy with Russia — is not illegal.
Perversely, however, lying to the US Federal Government’s version of the KGB (the FBI) — which apparently does its own share of lying — is illegal.
An easy way for the government to create criminality where there is none is to make it a crime to lie to its agents, in this case the FBI, which is Deep State Central. The object of creating bogus categories of crime, naturally, is to leverage power over adversaries; to scare them.
Likewise was Martha Stewart imprisoned — not for the offense of insider trading, but for lying to her inquisitors. During interrogation, the poor woman had been so intimidated, so scared of conviction— wouldn’t you? — that she fibbed. The lead federal prosecutor in her case was the now-notorious James B. Comey. (See “Convicted For Fearing Conviction”)
This kind of entrapment — the criminalization of the act of lying to the government, in Flynn’s case about a non-crime — is facilitated under the unconstitutional Section 1001 of Title 18, in the United States Code. It makes it an offense to make “a materially false” statement to a federal official — even when one is not under oath.
It’s perfectly fine, however, for said official to bait and bully a private citizen into fibbing. By such tactics, The State has created a category of crime from which a select few are exempt.
Is this equality under the law or inequality under the law?
Section 1001 neatly accommodates a plethora of due-process violations.
Yet another tool in the Deep State toolbox is to lean on family members in order to extract a confession. To get Flynn senior to confess, U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is purported to have threatened Mike Flynn junior with a legal kneecapping.
Ultimately, The State has overwhelming power when compared to the limited resources and power of an accused. The power differential between The State and an accused means he or she, as the compromised party, will cop a plea.
The Flynn guilty plea bargain, if you will, is nothing more than a negotiated deal which subverts the very goal of justice: the search for truth.
In the process of hammering out an agreement that pacified a bloodthirsty prosecutor, Flynn’s punishment for doing nothing wrong has been reduced. President Trump’s former national security adviser will still have to sell his home to defray the costs of a federal onslaught.
About the author:
*Ilana Mercer has been writing a widely published weekly column since 1999. She is the author of The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016) & Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011). Contact Ilana Mercer
This article was published by the MISES Institute