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RUSH: Yeah, I don’t mean to be talking down here, but everybody calm down. Just calm down. ABC News and Brian Ross are exactly who we think they are. Brian Ross reporting that Flynn promised to tell Mueller anything he wants to know about Trump and his family. Folks, it’s Brian Ross. It’s ABC. It’s much ado about nothing. Hang on.

JOHNNY DONOVAN: And now, from sunny south Florida, it’s Open Line Friday!

RUSH: Now, I could have started and gone in chronological, sequential order but that seems to be, “Oh, my gosh, Rush, do you see what they’re saying? Flynn’s gonna… My God, the stock market’s tanking! Oh, no! Oh, no! It’s over.” Folks, calm down. You are right where you need to be. We are right where we all knew we were going. Back on June 8th, I told everybody there’s not any evidence of collusion. We’re headed towards a process crime, which is exactly what happened today. We’ve all known this day was coming.

And because the Drive-Bys have been salivating for this story to amount to something that it never will amount to, what today really means is that we are now looking forward to another six months of intense news stories, allegations of Trump-Russia collusion. But there wasn’t any. Flynn does not know of any, and he’s not going to report any. Now, let’s start at the other end of this. Because that is… I could have teased you. I could have led you along here and taken 20 minutes to get there, but I have never toyed with the people in this audience.

I’ve never dangled carrots out there and tricked you into waiting for what the payoff is. Now, there are some things that you need to keep in mind about this as we begin to unpack this. The first thing to know is that Michael Flynn worked in the Obama administration and was despised personally by Barack Obama. Obama hated Flynn. Flynn was at the Defense Intelligence Agency, and Flynn had a much different view and take on militant Islamic terrorism than Obama, and Flynn was constantly lobbying for foreign policy that would deal with militant Islamic terrorism in the way he thought it presented a threat.

As we know, in Obama’s world there is no militant Islamic terrorism because Islam is a religion of peace. I’m not exaggerating here. I’m not trying to be snarky about Obama. I’m telling you just straight up and down: Obama doesn’t believe in militant Islamic terrorism, as far as every public statement he’s ever made. There was a genuine policy disagreement and a genuine personality clash, and this is why Flynn was being surveilled by the Obama administration during the transition.

Or I should say the Russian ambassador who went to lunch all the time was being surveilled, and it was Michael Flynn during his phone calls that was unmasked by the Obama administration. Flynn worked for Trump for 25 days and was fired for lying. Trump is the one who fired Flynn for lying. Obama never did. During the transition, Obama personally told Trump not to bring Flynn into his administration.

So deep was the animus that Obama had for Flynn that he actually suggested and warned Trump, “Don’t go there. The guy is a bad actor.” (interruption) What? Brian Ross? Okay. Well, let’s go back to the end again if you want more of this. Brian Ross of the ABC News is the only source for this. Breaking news, ABC: Michael Flynn has promised to flip on Trump, to flip on Trump, to flip on Trump’s family, flip to the White House staff.

Brian Ross of ABC News is the only source to report this. Who is Brian Ross? Brian Ross is the investigative reporters for ABC News who — during a mass shooting in Colorado at a movie theater — immediately began looking to see if the shooter could be a member of the Tea Party. So they found membership rosters of Tea Party members, and, lo and behold, they found of a name in the Tea Party roster that was the same name as the shooter.

So Brian Ross, without knowing, heads to the nearest camera and alludes to the possibility the shooter could be a member of the Tea Party. It turned out not to be true. ABC News is reporting that “Flynn is prepared to testify that Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians,” and this is why: “to lay the groundwork for mutual efforts against ISIS in Syria.” That’s the big breaking news from ABC.

Ladies and gentlemen, that is exactly the sort of thing an incoming national security adviser is supposed to do in a transition between administrations. Flynn is supposed “to make contact with the Russians … to lay the groundwork for mutual efforts against ISIS in Syria.” There’s nothing here about undermining current Obama policy, which is what ABC and CNN and the others are trying to make you think is that Flynn was talking to the Russians to try to undermine Obama and his newly placed sanctions on Russian delegates and ambassadors and aides and so forth in the United States.

But the incoming national security adviser making “contact with the Russians … to lay the groundwork for mutual efforts against ISIS in Syria” is exactly what happens during every transition. It is exactly the sort of thing the incoming national security adviser is supposed to do. Now, if this… And this is the key thing about it. If this were part of the basis for a collusion case arising out of Russia’s election meddling, then Flynn would not be pleading guilty to a process crime today.

He would be pleading to an espionage conspiracy. At the end of the day, this remains a process crime. He lied to FBI agents. And if there were collusion, if Flynn were promising to spill the beans on collusion, then he would not just be pleading guilty to a process crime. “But, Rush! But, Rush! He could be… He could have made the deal and that could be what Mueller’s…” No, no, no. Not at this stage. You dangle that carrot down the road.

If you’re trying to entice Flynn to flip and really deliver the goods then you hit him as hard as you can and dangle the lesser penalty and charges down the road after he flips and cooperates. What we have here is the Drive-By Media and ABC so damned eager for what they’ve been lying about for a year to actually be true that they cannot restrain themselves. They can’t contain themselves, and they’re seeing what isn’t there.

They are reporting their hopes. They are reporting their dreams. Here is Flynn’s statement. Here is Flynn’s allocution — and that, again, is when the perp walks into court and is accepting a guilty plea in a deal, then the perp has to stand up and tell the judge what he did and why he’s pleading guilty. It’s part of ascertaining that the perp knows what he’s doing. It’s part of making sure the perp has gotten fair treatment in the system.

So the perp has to stand up and admit what he did, period. Here’s Flynn’s statement: “After over 33 years of military service to our country — including nearly five years in combat away from my family — and then my decision to continue to serve the United States, it has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of treason and other outrageous acts.” Well, that takes us to the Logan Act, which has never been prosecuted and will not be in this case.

Flynn continues: “Such false accusations of treason…” Colluding with the Russians for the purposes of affecting an election would be treason. He is denying it here in his plea deal. “Such false accusations of treason are contrary to everything I’ve ever done and stood for. But I recognize that the actions I acknowledge in court today were wrong and through my faith in God I’m working to set things right. 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.

“I accept full responsibility for my actions.” Here’s the statement from Ty Cobb, the White House lawyer: “Today, Michael Flynn, a former National Security Adviser at the White House for 25 days during the Trump administration, and a former Obama administration official, entered a guilty plea to a single count of making a false statement to the FBI.”

There are actually four different lies in this count. He lied. There are four different things he told lies about, which I will get to in-mere moments hang on. Statement from Ty Cobb, White House lawyer continues: “The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year.” Remember why the Trump team fired Flynn.

He had lied to Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador, and Flynn had carried these lies to the Sunday shows and had been embarrassed. Flynn had lied to him; so they got rid of him. Obama never did fire Flynn for lying. It was Trump who did. So, again, this is the White House lawyer: “The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year.

“Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn. The conclusion of this phase of the Special Counsel’s work demonstrates again that the Special Counsel is moving with all deliberate speed and clears the way for a prompt and reasonable conclusion.” What’s the market? The markets was down 300. There was panic in the stock market today when the first reports of the plea deal had been announced.

The market was down 300. The last I checked right before the program began, it gained half of that back if not more. It was down 128. The tax bill’s gonna pass. In fact, do you think maybe the timing of this today is to take attention away, news coverage away from the tax bill passing? We’ll be able to make the case here, the audio sound bites coming up, that it may well be the case, that this has been timed to take good Trump news off of the front pages.

It’s also taken news of the inane, crazy acquittal of this assassin out in San Francisco of Kate Steinle. What a miscarriage of justice that is. That is also quite a teachable moment. But it takes that and also takes Matt Lauer and Al Franken and John Conyers off the front page and puts Trump and Russia collusion right back on it with nothing new added to the mix. We all knew today was coming. So let me take a brief time-out here and give you a little bit more background on Flynn and his relationship with Obama and what the plea deal, the lies that he has admitted to making, what they are and what all this means.

We will continue when we get back.

Again, you’re right where you need to be to understand all of this.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Look at it this way, folks. What if Trump, as president-elect, had denied Flynn and everybody else in his administration — the transition team — permission to talk to Russians, told ’em they could not talk to the Russians? What do you think the Drive-By Media would have gone to town with that? Do you think they would have gone to town with that? You think they would have thought that Trump is trying to shield the collusion?

“He doesn’t want any of the people working for it to know that it happened. He doesn’t want the Russians spilling the beans!” Can you imagine? And yet they’re trying to say that Flynn has some kind of dirt to dump on Trump because he was talking to the Russians during the transition. Again, he was doing exactly what a national security during a transition does. And what he was specifically talking about…

You might have heard that Flynn was talking to the Russian ambassador about lessening the sanctions Obama had just placed on Russians and the deportations of a bunch of Russian officials because they’d tampered in the election. This is such a bogus bunch of events here. Obama expels a bunch of Russians because of colluded? There was no collusion. This was all a bunch of stuff for public consumption and for show.

So ABC’s got this breaking news report that Trump directed Flynn to make contact with the Russians. And again, why? To lay the groundwork for mutual efforts against ISIS and Syria. It had nothing to do with collusion, ’cause there wasn’t any. It had nothing to do with sanctions. It was exactly what a national security adviser is supposed to do. You lay the groundwork for the incoming administration and foreign governments, and he was talking to many more people than just the Russians.

But because this phony baloney, plastic banana charge of collusion, stealing the election was out there, ABC News is reporting today that Flynn’s prepared to drop on Trump and his family and White House staff. I’m just here to tell you: If there was real collusion in this case, there would not be a process crime as what Flynn is pleading guilty to. It’d be far worse than that. Now, let’s go back. Michael Flynn was an early supporter of Trump.

I’ll never forget. Michael Flynn was one of the first of the official Washington… I don’t want to call him establishment, but he was. I mean, he was in the Obama administration, decorated military hero. He was head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, which is the defense version, the Department of Defense version of the CIA. And he loved Trump. He thought Trump was the solution and the answer. And he was early at Trump rallies, and he was on stage with Trump. He had a genuine love for what Trump was in the campaign.

He was also a fierce critic of Obama’s national security policies. Obama personally despised Michael Flynn. Flynn was constantly arguing with Obama over foreign policy. Again, Flynn believed the great threat posed in the world was by militant Islamic terrorism, and of course Obama? There isn’t any such thing. The animus that Obama held for Flynn was deep, and it was personal, so much so that Obama personally warned Trump to beware of Flynn and to not give him a position in his administration.

There has always been a suspicion on the part of us paying attention here that the decision to interview Flynn was driven by the expectation that he would provide the FBI with an account inconsistent with the recorded conversation that he had had with the Russian ambassador. In other words, many of us have believed that Flynn was being set up for a process crime because of the deep animosity. The Russian ambassador is being surveilled. Flynn is overheard in those surveilled phone calls. Flynn is then unmasked by the Obama administration — which is also a crime.

Andy McCarthy, National Review Online, thinks that what happened today is not what everybody else thinks.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: We’ll get through the explanation of the Flynn situation here, which is basically kind of talking some people down off the ledge here. The stock market’s on the way back to earning back its early loss today. It was down 300. It’s now down 128. So it’s coming back. Now, Andy McCarthy, a former prosecutor in the federal government, U.S. attorney’s office, Southern District of New York. It’s Manhattan.

“While initial reporting is portraying Flynn’s guilty plea as a major breakthrough in Mueller’s investigation of potential Trump-campaign collusion with the Russian regime, I suspect the opposite is true. Speculation that Flynn is now cooperating in Mueller’s investigation stirred in recent days due to reports that Flynn had pulled out of a joint defense agreement (or ‘common interest’ arrangement) to share information with other subjects of the investigation.”

But there’s nothing unusual about that. Once again, the lack of understanding by Drive-By Media reporters. Flynn’s pulling out of the joint agreement to share information? That means he’s getting ready to flip! That means he’s getting ready to dump on Trump. No. It meant was getting ready to make a deal with the prosecutor and, as such, it becomes unethical for the two lawyers or the teams of lawyers to communicate with each other once one of the people involved is going to cop a plea.

“As an ethical matter, it is inappropriate for an attorney whose client is cooperating with the government (or having negotiations toward that end) to continue strategizing with, and having quasi-privileged communications with, other subjects of the investigation and their [lawyers].” There was nothing unusual about this and it didn’t mean anything other than Flynn was getting close to making a deal. “[W]hen a prosecutor has a cooperator who was an accomplice in a major criminal scheme…”

Folks, this is a key point, now. “[W]hen a prosecutor [Mueller] has a cooperator [Flynn] who was an accomplice in a major criminal scheme, the cooperator [Flynn] is made to plead guilty to the scheme. This is critical because it proves the existence of” a criminal conspiracy. Then when the perp allocates — like, tells the judge what he did “the accomplice [Flynn] explains the scheme and the actions taken by himself and his co-conspirators to carry” out the scheme. “This goes a long way toward proving the case…”

You have a perp pleading guilty to a scheme that he was part of and then explains the scheme and all the other people involved. That’s not what happened here today! Flynn did not plead guilty to a scheme. He pleaded guilty to a process crime, lying to FBI agents. So Mueller does not have proof of a scheme with this plea. He does not have proof of a conspiracy, criminal conspiracy, with this plea.

“Understand: If Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador had [illustrated/shown there to be] the existence of a quid pro quo collusion arrangement — that the Trump administration would ease or eliminate sanctions on Russia as a payback for Russia’s” screwing with our election to harm Hillary — if Flynn’s conversations had been about that, “it would have been completely appropriate, even urgently necessary, for the Obama Justice Department to investigate Flynn.

“But if that had happened, Mueller would not be permitting Flynn to settle the case with a single count of lying to FBI agents.” If that had happened, what the Drive-Bys tell us happened — if what they wanted to happen, what they’ve got themselves believing happened — if there were collusion and if Flynn knew about it and if Flynn was talking to the Russians about it and if there was a quid pro quo — we wouldn’t have watched a plea to a process crime today.

Flynn would have been required to plea to a far more serious offense if he wanted a deal. “To the contrary, for all the furor, we have a small-potatoes plea in Flynn’s case — just as we did in [George] Papadopoulos’s case, despite extensive ‘collusion’ evidence,” which nobody has showed us yet. “Meanwhile, the only major case Mueller has brought…” And this is important, too. “Meanwhile, the only major case,” and this plea deal with Flynn isn’t one.

“Meanwhile, the only major case Mueller has brought against former Trump-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and an associate, has nothing to do with the 2016 election.” The only major case Mueller has brought has nothing to do with Russians or collusion and the 2016 election. “[W]hatever ‘collusion’ means,” whatever the Drive-Bys have got everybody thinking happened here, whatever this collusion with the Russians means, we still have no evidence of an “actionable, conspiratorial complicity by the Trump campaign” with Russia.

And the fact that Flynn is pleading guilty to lying to FBI agents is clear indication of this. So, predictably, here comes Brian Ross, audio sound bite number 2, speaking with George Stephanopoulos today during their coverage of all this. Stephanopoulos said, “Brian, this would suggest Michael Flynn had a fair amount of information to offer the special counsel in return, right?”

ROSS: He’s prepared to testify, we are told by a confidant, against President Trump, against members of the Trump family, and others in the White House. He’s prepared to testify that President Trump — as a candidate, Donald Trump — ordered him/directed him to make contacts with the Russians, which contradicts all that Donald Trump has said at this point. As well, we’re told that Flynn made the decision to cooperate only in the last 24 hours, that he is distraught about the decision but feels he’s doing the right thing for his country, that he was facing huge legal bills of more than a million dollars, and that he said finally he had to go ahead and do this for that reason. He expects to put his house on the market. He is facing serious financial problems.

RUSH: Right, and for that we are told that Flynn’s gonna just indict everybody. He’s gonna flip on Trump and Ivanka and Jared and Barron and Donald Jr. and Eric and their wives and Hope Hicks and Steve Bannon. He’s just gonna dump on everybody. But I’m telling you, folks, this is a pile. You just heard Brian Ross indicate that Flynn’s prepared to testify that Trump told him to talk to the Russians. That is exactly what transition team members do.

They talk to ambassadors and others in foreign countries as they lay the groundwork so that the new administration can hit the ground running. Flynn was talking to the Russian ambassador about laying groundwork for mutual efforts against ISIS in Syria, not election collusion, not Obama’s precious sanctions. The process crime plea indicates this. ABC just can’t contain themselves here.

If Brian Ross was right about this, Flynn would not be pleading guilty to a process crime. He would be pleading guilty to an espionage conspiracy. Brian Ross is trying to make you think — and tank the stock market — that Trump’s days are numbered, that Flynn’s got the goods. “It’s what we’ve always known! It’s just a matter of time now; Trump’s toast.” But that’s not what a plea of guilty to a process crime indicates.

Again, it was Obama who hated Flynn. It was Trump who fired Flynn for lying. It was the Obama administration that unmasked Flynn during surveilled phone calls with the Russian ambassador. Obama never fired Flynn. Obama hated him, but he never fired him. Hated him, thought he was a bad actor, but he never got him out of the administration. Trump did. Audio sound bite number 3, Jonathan Martin, New York Times, CNN this morning. John Berman, the host, says, “Hey, we’ve been hearing from the president on a whole range of subjects.

“We’re wondering what’s going on in Trump’s head today now that his former national security adviser’s pleading guilty in the Russia investigation.” He’s pleading guilty to lying to federal prosecutors. He didn’t “plead guilty to the Russian investigation.” These are not small semantic distinctions. They’re major. The Drive-Bys are doing this on purpose. So the question from John Berman to Jonathan Martin, New York Times: “Does this show you that maybe the president knew that this was coming today?”

MARTIN: (excited) This could not come at a worse time (snickers) for the president, for his party! The Senate is poised to pass a sweeping tax cut bill, uh, late tonight or perhaps tomorrow. It appears that they do have the votes. The House has already passed their version. (chuckles) That would give them a — a — a real victory. It’s an accomplishment that Mr. Trump and his party has desperately sought. And here — at this very moment of trying to get th-this bill done — they are faced with word that the former national security adviser, a mere nine months ago, has been taken into federal custody for lying to the FBI? If you are the president, if you are Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, I think you’re gonna be uttering a few four-letter words today.

RUSH: So there you have it. They’re all excited! Mueller did the deed on the right day. Mueller did the deed to sweep the tax cut deal off the table and to tick everybody off. This is — in Jonathan Martin’s opinion — the swamp banding together, the establishment coordinating its efforts to continue to destroy Trump and muddy the waters. The tax bill is going to pass.

As far as McConnell and Ryan are concerned, none of this today is a legal problem. It’s a bit of a political problem, but it doesn’t present any legal problems to them or their tax bill. The tax bill is going to pass. But I don’t have any doubt that the timing of this thing today may not be coincidental, ’cause look at all the news that it swept off the front pages, and look at what it put back on the front page: Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the election from Hillary!

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Now, there’s just one more thing I want to remind you of. It’s very difficult for people to remember these things. This is why a subscription to RushLimbaugh.com would become invaluable because all of this that you hear on this program, you can research. You can find it. It’s published. You know the power of the published word. Well, what I say gets published at RushLimbaugh.com, and you can keep it, you can save it, whatever you want. Keep it around. File in your own way, or leave it on my website and search for it. However you wish to do it.

But this is important to remember.

Washington Post, January 23rd of this year — January 23rd, 2017, right around the time of the inauguration. Washington Post, January 23rd this year, “FBI Reviewed Flynn’s Calls with Russian Ambassador but Found Nothing Illicit.” Let me read to you from the article. “The FBI in late December reviewed intercepts of communications between the Russian ambassador [Kislyak] to the United States and retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn — national security adviser to then-President-elect Trump — but has not found any evidence of wrongdoing or illicit ties to the Russian government, U.S. officials said.”

So 10 months ago, 11 months ago. It means that that surveilled phone call that the FBI had tapped, ’cause they tap all the foreign agents, Kislyak not excluded. They surveil them as a matter of course. His conversations with Flynn were overheard. Mueller has them. Mueller’s listened to them. Mueller’s read the transcript. The Washington Post quotes “U.S. officials” as saying there’s nothing on them.

Mueller has Flynn’s phone calls with the Russian ambassador. The FBI said there was nothing illicit, meaning no way to prove a criminal conspiracy. No way. No indication of collusion, because Flynn was talking to Kislyak about laying the groundwork for a mutually benefit policy toward ISIS in Syria. That’s what Flynn was talking to Kislyak about. But it didn’t matter at the time. The leaks were, “He’s talking to the Russian ambassador.” This is right around the time that Obama had slapped sanctions on the Russians for stealing the election.

What a freaking crock!

So there never has been a “there” there. We don’t know why Flynn lied. But he did. He lied to the FBI agents, and he lied to Mike Pence. We don’t know why. But whatever’s on the tape, whatever they have him saying to Kislyak, there’s nothing actionable on it. Nothing about any collusion. Believe me, if there were, we’d’a heard about it long before now and not be dealing with a process crime today. Let me grab Nicola in St. Petersburg. Welcome. Great to have you on the program. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Rush. How you doing today?

RUSH: I’m fine and dandy. Thank you.

CALLER: Okay. My statements I guess are two-pronged. First of all, I have a little bit of professional experience in these matters. Relative to the criminal complaint today that Flynn was arraigned on, this is sort the typical tactic by the prosecution, where, if they want to get information on a bigger fish, if you will, you know, they are gonna charge somebody with a lesser offense. It’s a little bit of a victory for Mueller, and then that individual testifies against the bigger fish. I hope that if there’s any testimony relative to the bigger fish, it only applies to… I believe you said earlier, you think it’s only relative to the transition where President Trump directed him to get in touch with the Russians to try to facilitate an end to the Syrian problem. If that’s the case, I don’t believe President Trump will have any problems. Precedents were set by other transitions.

RUSH: That’s the point that I was trying to make here the previous hour. Anyway, Nicola, I appreciate the call. Really. Thank you very much.

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