Citing former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn’s “substantial assistance” in his two-year investigation of the president, special counsel Robert Mueller is recommending Flynn get no jail time for lying to the FBI.
Flynn pled guilty in December 2017 to lying to FBI officials during an interview the previous January, during which he said he misrepresented his statements to Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, his previous interactions with Russian government figures, and his contacts with Turkish government figures.
In a sentencing memo released on Tuesday, Mueller touted Flynn’s 33-year military career, his time at the helm of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and his extensive government cooperation as mitigating factors in the case. Flynn participated in 19 interviews with Mueller’s office and other Department of Justice personnel and provided “documents and communications,” the details of which are heavily redacted. He is due to be sentenced on December 18.
Mueller repeatedly praises the “timeliness” of his assistance – Flynn was the first senior official to formally cooperate with the probe, and the special counsel believes his choice to plead guilty “likely affected the decisions of related firsthand witnesses” to come forward as well.
Less than a month after taking office with the Trump administration in January 2017, Flynn was fired as national security adviser after then-Attorney General Sally Yates revealed he had lied about the details of a conversation with Kislyak in which he asked the Russian ambassador to delay retaliation against US sanctions on Russia, as well as an earlier discussion of UN Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Kislyak confirmed the meeting did happen, and said the pair had only discussed “the simplest things,” in an “absolutely transparent” conversation. “I had instructions not to discuss sanctions. We never discussed sanctions with anybody. And I assure you, I have honestly followed the instructions,” he said, adding they mostly talked about counter-terrorism.
While the memo sheds no light on the nature of Flynn’s cooperation beyond what was already known, the blue checkmarks of the Twitter ‘Resistance‘ are nevertheless abuzz with rumor, writing their fantasies into the redacted text – interpreting it as spelling “big trouble” for Trump.