‘Mike Flynn folded’: MSNBC chief legal correspondent explains how ‘Trump playbook’ backfired
Gen. Michael Flynn speaks to NBC (screen grab)

Donald Trump's former National Security Advisor "played himself" leading up to Tuesday's sentencing hearing.

Federal Judge Emmett Sullivan continued Tuesday's sentencing hearing for Michael Flynn after publicly scolding the defendant and hinting that he would sentence Flynn to prison.

"Our top story, let's be clear, it wasn't supposed to be a cliffhanger. It was not designed to be suspenseful," MSNBC anchor and chief legal correspondent Ari Melber noted. "Michael Flynn was supposed to walk into federal court today with that rarest of things, a get out of jail free card from Bob Mueller."

"But something important happened on the way to the courthouse, Michael Flynn and his lawyers got fresh, brash. They started playing with the facts," he continued. "As the judge showed them today, they ended up playing themselves."

"Flynn's final filing in this case, tried to walk back his guilty plea, tapping the Trump playbook to complain the FBI didn't warn him it was a crime to lie to them -- which was of course embraced by Trump and some Flynn defenders," Melber noted.

"Mike Flynn made this legally stupid, self-contradictory argument at the worst possible time, heading right into when the judge was deliberating today -- and it backfired," he explained. "Today we witnessed the hammer of the judicial system coming down on a former Trump aide who Mueller tried to help keep out of prison."

"Mike Flynn folded. Having dropped his defiant attacks on the FBI under oath, he went on to drop the entire plan to get sentenced today," Melber noted. "Today, Flynn turned a free pass from Mueller into this judicial smackdown."