Judge Andrew Napolitano reacted this morning to the news that Gen. Michael Flynn is pleading guilty to making false statements to the FBI about discussions with Russian officials.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office announced the charge this morning. The false statements were:
"On or about Dec 29, 2016, FLYNN did not ask the Government of Russia’s Ambassador to the United States (“Russian Ambassador”) to refrain from escalating situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day; and FLYNN did not recall the Russian Ambassador subsequently telling him that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request; and ... On or about December 22, 2016, FLYNN did not ask the Russian Ambassador to delay the vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution; and that the Russian Ambassador subsequently never described to FLYNN Russia’ response to his request."
Napolitano said the potential penalty on a charge of lying to the FBI is minimal compared to the 60 or so years Flynn could have faced on other allegations.
"With his guilty plea, he's reduced that to somewhere between six and 12 months. That is an enormous, gargantuan, monumental reduction. That doesn't come easily and it doesn't come for free,
The judge said it raises the "tantalizing" question of what information Flynn has given to Mueller.
"We will find out soon," said Napolitano.
Flynn served as President Trump's national security adviser and worked on Trump’s presidential campaign.
Napolitano stated later on "Outnumbered" that he sees the development as a "nightmare" for President Trump and the "tip of a prosecutorial iceberg."
He noted that Flynn was a "constant companion" of Trump on foreign policy and national security matters from June 2015 until early 2017.
Napolitano said one "downside" for Mueller's team is that Flynn has now admitted to lying to the FBI and may have credibility issues as a witness.
Later on in the show, constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley reacted, saying Flynn had a "lot of baggage" and Mueller could have pursued a host of other charges.
"We don't know if part of this plea agreement involves deliverables - whether Flynn was able to knock down a number of counts in return for giving information against other people," said Turley, saying it would be "rare" for Flynn to receive a "good deal" without such information.
Turley said, however, that those claiming this is a bombshell in terms of President Trump might be "getting ahead of [their] skis a bit."
Turley said he will "wait to see" what the indictment against Flynn says, adding that the indictment of Paul Manafort was on charges "significantly removed" from his work with the Trump campaign.
He noted that Flynn was "shown the door" by Trump for being untruthful in his statements to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russians.
Watch the segment below.