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Mueller filing reveals Michael Flynn interviewed with special counsel 19 times, recommends no jail time

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Michael Flynn
Michael Flynn.
AP
Photo/Carolyn Kaster


  • In a sentencing memo, the special counsel Robert Mueller’s
    office recommended that former national security adviser Michael
    Flynn not to be incarcerated.
  • Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his
    contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in 2016,
    shortly before President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
  • In 2017, Trump did not rule out pardoning Flynn and
    accused the Justice Department of wrongdoing.

In a sentencing memo, the special counsel Robert Mueller’s office
recommended that former national security adviser Michael Flynn
not to be incarcerated after he was found to have lied to federal
investigators about his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey
Kislyak.

“Given the defendant’s substantial assistance and other
considerations set forth below, a sentence at the low end of the
guideline range — including a sentence that does not impose a
term of incarceration — is appropriate and warranted,” the memo
said, according to The Atlantic writer Natasha Bertrand. 

After delaying Flynn’s case numerous times this year, prosecutors
signaled in September that the case was ready to move forward
with sentencing. Mueller’s office kept a tight lip on the case
and
reportedly
recommended to the judge that it and Flynn’s
counsel not reveal any new information about any developments or
the extent of Flynn’s cooperation, prior to the 2018 midterm
elections in November.

Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced on December 18.
Mueller’s memo is widely expected to provide a closer look at the
progress of the Russia probe, and at the very least, shed some
light on the extent of Flynn’s crimes.

Flynn’s denial of Russian contacts

Despite having denied discussing US sanctions against Russia with
Kislyak, Flynn was discovered to have had done so in late 2016.

In December 2016, Flynn contacted the Kremlin to push for a block
on a United Nations Security Council resolution on settlements in
Israel, after he appeared to be
instructed
 by White House senior adviser and Trump’s
son-in-law Jared Kushner.

That same month, Flynn reached out to Kislyak again. Following
then-President Barack Obama’s fresh sanctions against Russia in
response to interfering in US elections, Flynn reportedly spoke
with Kislyak numerous times, and advised “not
escalate the situation and only respond to the US Sanctions in a
reciprocal manner,” according court filings.

Russian President Vladimir Putin would later release a statement
suggesting he would not retaliate against the US, and Kislyak
informed Flynn of Russia’s decision. Flynn would go on to discuss
his interactions with the Kremlin with senior members of Trump’s
transition team. 

The former three-star US Army general and director of the Defense
Intelligence Agency had ardently supported President Donald
Trump’s 2016 campaign, eventually landing a role in the White
House as Trump’s national security advisor.

Read more:
Mueller is about to drop major new details about 3 of the most
important players in the Russia probe


flynn
Vice
President Mike Pence and Michael Flynn.

Getty

Following news of Flynn’s Russia contacts, Vice President Mike
Pence was caught in a crossroad after saying Flynn did not
discuss sanctions. Trump declined to act for weeks after news of
Flynn’s conversations came to light, despite warnings from
then-acting attorney general Sally Yates that Flynn misled
investigators.

Trump fired Flynn for lying to the FBI in February, but remained
adamant that he did not do anything unlawful.

I had to fire General Flynn because he lied
to the Vice President and the FBI,” Trump tweeted in December
2017. “He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because
his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing
to hide!”

The president was very concerned that Gen. Flynn had
misled the vice president and others,” then-White House press
secretary Sean Spicer said, following Flynn’s firing.

“The president must have complete and unwavering trust for
the person in that position,” Spicer added. “The evolving and
eroding level of trust as a result of this situation in a series
of other questionable instances is what led the president to ask
for Gen. Flynn’s resignation.”

Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators in
December, the first of numerous senior Trump officials, and he
has since cooperated with Mueller’s office in relation to its
investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign
and Russia. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and
former Trump attorney Michael Cohen have also pleaded guilty to a
litany of crimes, including lying to Congress and investigators,
and are believed to be cooperating with the special counsel.

In December 2017, Trump did not rule out pardoning Flynn and
accused the Justice Department of wrongdoing.

“I don’t want to talk about pardons with Michael Flynn yet,”
Trump
said
. “We’ll see what happens, let’s see.”

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