Dec 18, 2018

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

D.C. Readers: You're invited! Join me tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. for this year's close-out event. I'll be hosting a conversation on criminal justice reform and news of the day.

  • The lineup: Van Jones, CNN contributor and founder and president of Dream Corps and #cut50; Mark Holden, general counsel of Koch Industries; and Sens. Dick Durbin and Amy Klobuchar. RSVP here
1 big thing: The evisceration of Michael Flynn

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

In a surprise twist today, a federal judge delivered a withering brushback to anyone hoping Michael Flynn would get off easy for lying to the FBI.

The big picture: Prosecutors had asked U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan for leniency. But in the courtroom today, Sullivan lashed into Flynn, suggested leniency wasn't coming and told the retired general he should consider delaying the sentencing.

  • "I'm not hiding my disgust, my disdain for this criminal offense," Sullivan told Flynn.
  • “This is a very serious offense — a high-ranking senior official of the government, making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation while on the physical premises of the White House."
  • "Arguably, this undermines everything this flag over here stands for. Arguably, you sold your country out," Sullivan said, referencing Flynn's undisclosed lobbying for Turkey.

Between the lines: Sullivan also pressed Flynn on statements made by his defenders and lawyers in recent weeks, which suggested he was a victim of the FBI.

  • Flynn statement last week: "General Flynn’s case differs from that of Alexander Van der Zwaan ... a trained attorney who was represented by counsel during the interview; he was interviewed at a time when there was a publicly disclosed, full-bore investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election; and he was given a warning that it is a federal crime to lie during the interview."
  • Flynn today: The retired general declined opportunities to withdraw his plea and said he was "aware" lying to the FBI is a crime. His lawyer also told the judge that Flynn was not entrapped by the FBI.

What's next: Flynn's sentencing will now be delayed into 2019 as he wraps up his cooperation with the Mueller investigation.

Go deeper: Here's what Michael Flynn has admitted

Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: Johanes Christo/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A white-bull sacrophagus that contains the corpse of Ida I Gusti Ngurah Djelantik XXIV, an elder of Puri Ageng Blahbatuh royal family, is cremated during a royal ceremony known as Pelebon in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia.

2. What you missed
  1. The Trump Foundation has agreed to dissolve in compliance with a lawsuit alleging the charity was being used for President Trump's personal and political gain. Go deeper.
  2. The Trump administration has officially made bump stocks illegal. A bump stock was used in the Las Vegas shooting. Go deeper.
  3. Trump has asked every federal agency to contribute to the $5 billion in border wall funding he has demanded from Congress to avoid shutting the government down. Go deeper.
  4. Belgium's prime minister has resigned amid a political crisis over his decision to sign a UN global migration pact. Go deeper.
  5. "Oil prices continued a precipitous slide to a fresh one-year low on Tuesday, weighed down by concerns over global growth and uncertainty over the impact of production cuts from major exporters." [WSJ]
3. 1 life well-lived

Photo: D Dipasupil/FilmMagic

Penny Marshall, the sitcom star who went on to direct some of the classic movies of the 1980s and '90s, died today at 75.

Highlights from her NYT obit:

  • "Ms. Marshall became the first woman to direct a feature film that grossed more than $100 million when she made 'Big' (1988). That movie, a comedy about a 12-year-old boy who magically turns into an adult (Tom Hanks) and then has to navigate the grown-up world, was as popular with critics as with audiences."
  • "Four years later she repeated her box-office success with 'A League of Their Own,' a sentimentally spunky comedy about a wartime women’s baseball league with an ensemble cast that included Madonna, Geena Davis, Rosie O’Donnell and Mr. Hanks."
  • "In between, she directed 'Awakenings' (1990), a medical drama starring Robert De Niro as a patient coming out of an encephalitic trance and Robin Williams as the neurologist who helps him."
Mike Allen