It’s been compared to talking to someone on their cell phone and then, just as they get to the best part, losing them as they drive through a tunnel. Or Elaine Benes saying “yadda yadda” when recounting a date night.
The “it” here is the sentencing document for former national security adviser Michael Flynn released on Tuesday night by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office. The 13 pages are more notable for what’s not there than what is. There are blacked-out redactions all over the document.
“Because the Addendum includes sensitive information about ongoing investigations, the government is seeking to partially seal the Addendum, and has filed publicly a redacted version of the document that excludes the sensitive information,” the document says.
The “sensitive information,” of course, is what everyone wants to know! What has Flynn told Mueller about his interactions with the Russians and about the possibility that someone — or someones — on the Trump campaign colluded with the foreign power during the course of the campaign?
We don’t get that full story here. It’s like Mueller gets right to the good section of the book and then slams the cover shut.
Here are the five juiciest redactions from the Flynn sentencing document, with some context and a smidge of informed speculation about What It All Means.
Wait, what? A criminal investigation? That’s an investigation in addition to the one currently being conducted by Mueller into Russia interference. What could it be aimed at? Matthew Miller, a former Justice Department official in the Obama administration, suggested on Twitter it might have to do with dealings between GOP fundraiser Elliot Broidy and the United Arab Emirates. Maybe? Who knows?
So … there is ANOTHER investigation. Not the Russia investigation and not the “criminal investigation.” A third investigation! That certainly seems to be what is listed after the words “the campaign of Donald J. Trump” and the comma, right?
Interactions between the Trump team and Russia during the transition, you say? Who? When? And the redacted portion after the comma suggests that Flynn provided other information on the behavior of people on the presidential transition team during that crucial period of time.
We know that Flynn was, ostensibly, fired by President Donald Trump in February 2017 after it was made clear that he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about whether he had spoken to any Russian officials during the transition. Who else does Mueller know about who repeated Flynn’s falsehoods? And that paragraph-long redaction — is that a naming of names or some other allegation tied to Flynn, or other members of the presidential transition team?
This is the blank-check redaction of all blank-check redactions. Information concerning what? Who? When? And how? This is a 3-paragraph redaction that appears to have at least one sub-heading. So it’s a substantial, um, something. What? I wish I knew!