United States Army Lieutenant General Mike Flynn (Ret.), the disgraced, admitted felon and fired, former Trump National Security Advisor, made remarks over the Memorial Day weekend allegedly advocating a coup – remarks that had some wondering why he hadn’t been arrested.
Here is what Flynn appears to have said at a QAnon conference:
Referring to Myanmar, an attendee asked Flynn, “I want to know why what happened in Minamar [sic] can’t happen here?”
Flynn responded, according to CNN: “No reason, I mean, it should happen here. No reason. That’s right.”
Later in a statement on Telegram Flynn denied the remarks as reported.
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, now a law professor at the University of Alabama Law School and an MSNBC and NBC News legal analyst says Flynn “is now seemingly advocating for” what happened in Myanmyar to happen here:
Following the coup in Myanmar, its civilian leaders were arrested. So former Gen’l Flynn, who a fed’l judge once accused of selling out this country (before Trump pardoned him), is now seemingly advocating for that to happen here. https://t.co/MTHpFcv5rI
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) May 31, 2021
Many, like former Clinton Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, have been asking why Flynn has not been arrested.
Can someone please explain to me why in hell Michael Flynn has not been arrested? This weekend he publicly advocated the violent military overthrow of the United States government.
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) May 31, 2021
Here’s what some experts are saying.
Bush 43 chief White House ethics lawyer, Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Minnesota, and vice-chair of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) Richard Painter:
Retired active duty military officers are subject to court martial. This is sedition.
Ex-general says Michael Flynn is getting ‘crazier and crazier’ after endorsing military coup in US https://t.co/yInzuNAJm6
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) June 1, 2021
David Laufman, an attorney and former Counterintelligence chief in the National Security Division at the Department of Justice (DOJ):
Michael Flynn, a former 3-star Army General, DIA Director, and National Security Advisor, just endorsed a military coup in the United States. This dangerous man must be denounced and shunned across the political spectrum. https://t.co/1s5IkzUwZN
— David Laufman (@DavidLaufmanLaw) May 31, 2021
U.S. Naval War College professor, Russian expert, specialist on international affairs and national security Tom Nichols:
Just a reminder that Mike Flynn, a retired three-star U.S. Army general, Trump’s first National Security Adviser, and later admitted felon, spent the Memorial Day weekend supporting the idea of a violent military overthrow of the government of the United States of America.
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) May 31, 2021
Harvard University Professor at the Harvard Law School and co-founder of the American Constitution Society:
“Michael Flynn, who served as President Trump’s national security adviser, told a crowd at a QAnon conference in Dallas this weekend that the US should have a coup like the one in Myanmar.”
Make no mistake: Trump would foment such a coup if he could.https://t.co/WmfpYlP7j3
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) May 31, 2021
But is it illegal?
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti:
Because the Supreme Court has long held that speech like Flynn’s is protected by the First Amendment unless it is directed at producing *imminent* lawless action and is likely to do so. https://t.co/qDCZPQyZTu
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) June 1, 2021
Attorney Teri Kanefield:
If you wondered about Flynn’s liability 👇
Otherwise, his speech was protected under the First Amendment. https://t.co/9rIPtB0dm3
— Teri Kanefield (@Teri_Kanefield) June 1, 2021
National security lawyer Bradley Moss suggesting what others have said, that Flynn’s advocating for a coup would have had to produce an immediate effect:
With respect, there is more to that and you know it. SCOTUS addressed that particular provision in 1957 and found to survive scrutiny the law required more than mere words and encouragement to overthrow. The later Brandenburg and Hess rulings further support that analysis. https://t.co/kmCy5kjQ18
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) June 1, 2021
Former federal prosecutor Ken White, now a criminal defense, white collar crime, and First Amendment litigation attorney:
Yes, General Flynn’s call for a military coup is protected by the First Amendment, as it is not intended and likely to cause imminent lawless action. Arguments that the overthrow of the government is warranted, morally or politically justified, or desirable are protected.
— LolWhatInsurrectionHat (@Popehat) May 31, 2021
Bottom line, Flynn appears to be off the hook, at least as a civilian, legally.
Image via Shutterstock
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