The former chief White House ethics lawyers for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama wrote a riveting New York Times op-ed following the guilty plea of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
"Prosecutors generally offer favorable plea bargains like this one only when the cooperating defendant can provide evidence that incriminates someone 'up the ladder' — someone more senior than the defendant himself. In our experience, that is particularly true when the prosecutor is deciding not to pursue other, readily provable charges, like those that seem to exist here," Professor Richard Painter and Norm Eisen wrote.
"It is not yet clear who those individuals are, but transition officials and members included Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr. as well as Vice President Mike Pence, Representative Devin Nunes of California; the former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin."
Senior White House advisor and President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner may now face the greatest legal liability.
"It is probably Mr. Kushner who is in greatest jeopardy now," they note. "Remember, we do not know everything Mr. Flynn has to say. What was disclosed in the court filings and hearings is probably only the tip of the iceberg; prosecutors generally keep that to the bare minimum needed for the guilty plea, in order to avoid tipping their hand in their investigation."
Donald Trump Jr. could also be brought down by Flynn's testimony.
"Donald Trump Jr.’s exposure is also deepened by the Flynn plea, along similar lines as Mr. Kushner," they suggest. "Because of Mr. Flynn’s role on the campaign as a trusted member of the inner circle, he may also have a great deal to say about topics like Mr. Trump Jr.’s June 2016 meeting with several Russians, Mr. Manafort and Mr. Kushner, or about the Trump scion’s contacts with WikiLeaks. If Mr. Flynn’s recollection is not the same as what Trump the Younger told Congress, he is in serious trouble."
Are Kushner and Don Jr. Next? https://t.co/DNjmej1HVT— Richard W. Painter (@Richard W. Painter) 1512162338.0
Future Trump family reunions might have to be behind bars, as we explain in our NEW @nytopinion piece @RWPUSA… https://t.co/A6KsMFQpKg— Norm Eisen (@Norm Eisen) 1512163044.0