Former security adviser to US President Donald Trump, Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty to charges that he made false statements to the FBI about his contacts with then Russian ambassador to the US Sergei Kislyak. The move was initially portrayed as one the most important turns in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into the Trump team’s alleged collusion with Russia and their attempts to obstruct the investigations.
"There was always smoke. Mueller's recent moves suggest he believes he has found fire," an article in The Sydney Morning Herald noted. According to the newspaper, although Mueller’s plan is optimistic at best, including possibly leveling more charges against people in the White House, the investigation is likely to end before Christmas "without more revelations."
Specifically, the newspaper suggests, that Mueller believes people even closer to the president – or even Trump himself – could have broken the law in colluding with Russia and attempting to derail the subsequent investigation.
However, according to the article, the results of the investigation – no matter how far it could go – will not trigger Trump’s impeachment.
"These would be impeachable offenses, but impeachment is a political rather than a judicial process, one that would need to be conducted by a Republican-controlled congress," the article read, emphasizing that Trump continues to enjoy support in the Republican base and Republican lawmakers "have so far proved unwilling to challenge him."
In an article for National Review, American journalist Andrew McCarthy pointed out that in fact Flynn’s guilty plea is not a breakthrough in Mueller’s investigation.
"There was nothing wrong with the incoming national-security adviser’s having meetings with foreign counterparts or discussing such matters as the sanctions in those meetings. Plus, if the FBI had FISA recordings of Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak, there was no need to ask Flynn what the conversations entailed," McCarthy wrote on Friday.
According to the journalist, if there were reals of signs of collusion or "Russian meddling in the US election" and Flynn had been involved he would be pleading guilty to an espionage conspiracy.
"That is not happening in Flynn’s situation. Instead, like [former foreign policy adviser George] Papadopoulos, he is being permitted to plead guilty to a mere process crime," he wrote.