Mike Flynn may have another secret plea agreement in Mueller probe — here’s why
Ousted national security adviser Mike Flynn (Shutterstock.com)

President Donald Trump's legal team is preparing to mount a scorched-earth attack on the credibility and reputation of ousted national security adviser Mike Flynn, said Vanity Fair's Chris Smith.

Smith pointed to a Washington Post report that attorney Ty Cobb will use Flynn's guilty plea to lying to the FBI to attack the retired Army Lt. General, but that this isn't an admission that Flynn has damning testimony on the president so much as standard legal strategy.

"Imagine that -- a defense attorney is going to attack the prosecution’s witness, if Flynn has anything bad to say about Trump," quipped Washington defense attorney Sol Wisenberg, who was deputy independent counsel in the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky investigations of the 1990s. “Wow -- the next thing you’re going to tell me is Dewey took Manila. If Flynn has some real dirt on Trump, then, yeah, they’ll have to destroy him.”

Smith went on to argue that federal prosecutors typically strike a plea deal around the highest provable charge against a witness, "and for all of Flynn’s apparent legal exposures, he pleaded guilty to the fairly pedestrian count of lying to the FBI. Maybe that’s the best that Mueller’s got against Flynn."

The White House leak earlier this week that Trump's team is preparing to turn the firehoses on Flynn, Smith said, essentially declared open season on Flynn for Trump's allies.

If Trump is hanging Flynn out to dry, then Trump's media boosters like Sean Hannity "are free to turn up the attacks on Flynn, to trash him as one more enemy of the president, which in turn embellishes Trump’s outsider image with his hard-core voters."

It also signals to Flynn that if he is hoping for a presidential pardon, he'd best not testify damningly about Trump, Smith said.

"Mueller, however, seems to have wisely anticipated such a chess move: by crafting a plea deal that basically guarantees Flynn won’t serve any time in jail, the special counsel reduced the temptation to not cooperate and be rewarded by a pardon," he wrote.

Wisenberg speculated that there may be a second, secret plea deal between Flynn and special counsel Robert Mueller, one that contains evidence of coordination and collusion between the Trump 2016 campaign and Russia. This would explain "the apparent thinness of the public plea deal," said Smith.

Trump has remained steadfastly supportive of Flynn in his public statements, calling him a good man who has led "a very strong life" and labeling the charges against Flynn "very unfair."