Watch: Fox News legal analyst smacks down right-wing talking point claiming Flynn was 'entrapped' by Mueller
Editor's note: A previous version of this article stated Judge Andrew Napolitano corrected Maria Bartiromo for claiming Michael Flynn was "entrapped" by investigators working for special counsel Robert Mueller. In fact, Bartiromo quoted a Wall Street Journal article and insisted there's a "debate" over whether the FBI's conduct toward Flynn constitutes entrapment. Napolitano explained why the FBI's actions do not meet the legal definition of entrapment. The article and headline have been updated to reflect that distinction.
President Donald Trump and many other Republicans—including a long list of carnival barkers at Fox News and Fox Business—have been painting Michael Flynn as a victim of “entrapment.” Flynn, former national security advisor for the Trump Administration, admitted to lying to the FBI about his communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the late 2016 lame duck session. And when Judge Andrew Napolitano appeared on Fox Business’ “Mornings with Maria” on December 17, host Maria Bartiromo echoed the claim that Flynn was “entrapped” by the FBI. But Napolitano set the record straight by explaining that legally, Flynn was not “entrapped.”
Napolitano said of Flynn, “Though they trapped him, it is not entrapment. Entrapment is when you resist, you resist, you resist—and they push and they push and they push.”
The judge was not praising the FBI’s methods. Napolitano has been a frequent critic of the U.S. Justice Department, and over the years, he has lambasted the federal governnent for everything from the Patriot Act to the War on Drugs.
But Napolitano made it clear to Bartiromo that when the FBI interrogated Flynn, it did not fit the legal definition of entrapment.
Napolitano asserted, “The Supreme Court has written that the feds, police, prosecutors can lie, cheat, deceive, threaten and coerce to flip a witness or to get information from a witness….Here’s the thing: his guilty plea was given under oath. If (Flynn) retracts that, it’s perjury. So he’s really in a bind right now.”
Although lying to the FBI about communications with a Russian official is a serious offense, Flynn’s attorneys have recommended that he receive no prison time in light of his cooperation in Mueller’s probe and his record of military service.