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更新时间:2017-12-4 19:13:49 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Michael Flynn’s Guilty Plea: 10 Key Takeaways

Michael Flynn’s plea on Friday to a single count of lying to the F.B.I. is a seismic event in the special counsel investigation.

迈克尔·弗林(Michael Flynn)周五就向联邦调查局(F.B.I)说谎一事认罪,是特别检查官调查中的一起大事件。

For starters, it portends the likelihood of impeachable charges being brought against the president of the United States. Mr. Flynn, a former national security adviser, acknowledged that he was cooperating with the investigation. His testimony could bring into the light a scandal of historic proportions in which the not-yet-installed Trump administration, including Donald Trump personally, sought to subvert American foreign policy before taking office.


The repercussions of the plea will be months in the making, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that the events to which Mr. Flynn has agreed to testify will take their place in the history books alongside the Watergate and Iran-contra scandals.


We’re in new — and highly inflammatory — territory. Here are 10 immediate takeaways from today’s news.


This is not a meet-in-the-middle deal.


Both sides did not assess their risks and decide to hedge them with a compromise. Rather, as we’ve known for weeks, the special counsel, Robert Mueller, believed he had sufficient evidence to indict Mr. Flynn on a long list of criminal charges, including money laundering, tax offense and false statements. Mr. Mueller’s team, as is standard prosecutorial practice, presented Mr. Flynn with that list and helped him understand that his life as he knew it had ended.

双方并非在评估了各自风险后通过妥协来对冲风险。据我们这几周的了解,特别检察官罗伯特·穆勒(Robert Mueller)认为自己已获得足够的证据,可以对弗林提出一长串刑事指控,包括洗钱、税务犯罪和虚假陈述。穆勒的团队按照标准的检察程序,向弗林展示了这份清单,让他知道自己从前的生活结束了。

This is much bigger than Paul Manafort.

这比保罗·马纳福特(Paul Manafort)要严重得多。

Mr. Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, has been indicted, but this is a plea, and Mr. Flynn’s cooperation — the real goal of bringing criminal charges — has been secured. This puts Mr. Flynn in the same camp as George Papadopoulos, the campaign adviser who pleaded guilty to making false statements to the F.B.I. on Oct. 5 and is also cooperating with the investigation. Unlike Mr. Papadopoulos, though, Mr. Flynn was a top adviser who was at the center of communication with Russia as well as the potential obstruction of justice by President Trump in seeking to shut down the Flynn investigation itself. Mr. Flynn was considered as a running mate and reportedly stayed quite close to the president even after being forced out of the administration in February.

前特朗普竞选团队主席马纳福特已经受到起诉,不过这次是认罪,弗林已经确定会配合——这才是提出刑事指控的真正目的。弗林因此与竞选顾问乔治·帕帕佐普洛斯(George Papadopoulos)站到了同一阵营里,后者于10月5日承认曾对联邦调查局(FBI)做出虚假陈述,也在配合调查。不过,与帕帕佐普洛斯不同的是,弗林是高级顾问,在特朗普团队与俄罗斯的往来以及特朗普总统可能存在的妨碍司法活动中是一个中心人物——特朗普曾试图阻止调查弗林。弗林曾经是特朗普的竞选伙伴人选之一,据称在2月份被迫退出该政府后依然与总统保持密切关系。

Mr. Flynn has just become the prosecution’s star witness.


Mr. Flynn’s plea on Friday concerned just one crime. The other charges that prosecutors threatened him with continue to hang over him. Mr. Flynn will not receive credit for his cooperation until after it has ended, at which point Mr. Mueller may — if Mr. Flynn has held up his end of the bargain — move to dismiss the other charges. In the interim, Mr. Flynn has to do anything Mr. Mueller’s team requests.


The charge Mr. Flynn is pleading guilty to is a stunning one.


He is admitting that last December, before Mr. Trump’s inauguration, he asked the Russian ambassador at the time, Sergey Kislyak, to refrain from reacting aggressively to sanctions that the Obama administration had imposed on Russia. Russia reportedly agreed and Mr. Kislyak told Mr. Flynn later that it had chosen to moderate its response to the sanctions to make nice with the Trump team.

他承认,去年12月特朗普就职之前,他请求当时的俄罗斯大使谢尔盖·基斯利亚克(Sergey Kislyak)不要对奥巴马政府向俄罗斯施加的制裁做出激烈反应。据报道,俄罗斯对此表示同意,基斯利亚克后来告诉弗林,俄罗斯已经选择对制裁做出节制的反应,以便向特朗普团队示好。

It seems Mr. Trump himself directed Mr. Flynn to make contact with the Russians.


If Mr. Flynn testifies to this — ABC’s Brian Ross is reporting that he will — it presents another impeachable offense along with the possible obstruction of justice. Even more, it brings the whole matter well outside the purview of the criminal courts into the province of a political scandal, indicating abuses of power arguably well beyond those in the Watergate and Iran-contra affairs.

如果弗林证实这一点——据ABC台的布赖恩·罗斯(Brian Ross)报道,弗林会这样做——那么在特朗普妨碍司法的罪名之外,还将构成另一项可能招致弹劾的罪行。更重要的是,它把整个事件置于刑事法庭范围之外,进入了政治丑闻范畴,表明滥用权力的程度可能超出了水门事件和伊朗门事件。

Mr. Flynn asked Russia to intervene at the United Nations on behalf of Israel.


He is admitting that last Dec. 22, he asked Mr. Kislyak to delay or defeat a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israel for its settlement policy, which the Obama administration had decided to let pass. The possible involvement or knowledge of Israel in the case will be one of many questions that congressional investigators will pursue.


The lying is bad. Conducting rogue American foreign policy is worse.


In the end, Mr. Flynn’s lies are secondary to the demonstration that the Trump administration was actively undermining American foreign policy before it took office. This will most likely prove the most abiding scandalous fact of the Mueller investigation. And it’s one that nobody on either side of the aisle could possibly defend.


Mr. Flynn’s cooperation portends extreme peril for a variety of people in the president’s orbit.


Most immediately vulnerable? Jared Kushner. Mr. Flynn was present at a Dec. 1, 2016, Trump Tower meeting where Mr. Kushner is said to have proposed to Mr. Kislyak setting up a back channel for the transition team to communicate with Moscow.

谁最危险?贾里德·库什纳(Jared Kushner)。弗林出席了2016年12月1日在特朗普大厦举行的会议,据说会上库什纳建议基斯利亚克设立秘密渠道,以便特朗普的过渡团队与莫斯科进行沟通。

Those and related details are now front and center in the investigation. Criminal liability aside, Friday’s news — including a report that Mr. Kushner was the one who directed Mr. Flynn to contact Russia — helps cement Mr. Kushner’s reputation as a callow and arrogant freelancer, authorized by the president to act way over his head, and possibly impairing some of the most delicate and important issues of foreign policy. (A possible winner, on the other hand, is the younger Mike Flynn, about whose criminal liability his father was extremely concerned. Look to see how Mr. Mueller now chooses to treat the younger Mr. Flynn, who is being investigated over his work for his father’s lobbying business.)


Mr. Flynn’s plea raises the likelihood that he will give testimony in support of a potential obstruction of justice charge against Mr. Trump.


The basis for the possible obstruction charge against the president has been his efforts to get the F.B.I. director, James Comey, to shut down the Flynn investigation during a Feb. 14 meeting in the Oval Office, coupled with his multiple lies on the subject. Obstruction is plainly an impeachable offense: It’s the offense for which Richard Nixon was threatened with impeachment.

今年2月14日,在椭圆形办公室举行的一次会议中,特朗普努力要求联邦调查局局长詹姆斯·科米(James Comey)停止对弗林的调查,加上他在这个问题上的多重谎言,这一切构成了对总统妨碍司法指控的基础。妨碍司法显然是一种可以构成弹劾的罪行:理查德·尼克松(Richard Nixon)便曾因妨碍司法受到弹劾威胁。

For months, it has seemed the possible culminating charge of the Mueller investigation, a straightforward and readily understandable high crime or misdemeanor. Such a charge, per Department of Justice policy, would not be brought in the criminal courts but would rather form the basis of a report to Congress potentially recommending impeachment. If Mr. Mueller brings that charge, it will be on the strength of Mr. Flynn’s testimony.


Mr. Trump’s defenders have fewer and fewer cards to play.


There had been a prospect that the obstruction of justice charge, if it did come, would be dismissed by die-hard Trump supporters as subject to conflicting interpretations of Mr. Trump’s state of mind, and therefore not deserving of impeachment or removal. No longer. Now Mr. Trump and his circle will stand accused by a former member of the administration with plainly unconstitutional meddling in the most sensitive of foreign policy issues. If the Congress and country believe Michael Flynn’s account, it is hard to see what even the staunchest Trump defenders can say in defense. That means that as Mr. Trump and the administration look out at the new landscape featuring a guilty Michael Flynn, it’s kill or be killed.