Mueller Defends FBI’s Questioning of Flynn at White House

17 December, 2018, 19:13 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Mueller confirmed the contacts 14 close to the Trump entities with the Russians, – WP

Even as prosecutors recommend no prison time for Flynn, they've left open the possibility they may seek additional charges against Manafort, who is already facing years in prison.

In that December 2017 hearing, Flynn confessed he lied about conversations he'd had with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, and revealed he'd acted as a conduit between the diplomat and President Donald Trump's transition team on at least two issues.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller released several documents Friday disputing the suggestion made by Michael Flynn's attorney's in their sentencing memo that Mr. Flynn was duped into lying in an interview with Federal Bureau of Investigation agents.

But Mueller's office did not hand over a 302 on Flynn; in fact, the only 302 submitted to Judge Sullivan was a July 19, 2017 interview with Peter Strzok that was conducted "in relation to other matters", according to Mueller.

Earlier this week, a federal judge set Friday as a deadline for the government to turn over documents related to the January 2017 meeting for review - prompting Flynn's backers and President Trump to claim the feds tricked Flynn, a retired Army general, into cooperating.

Flynn's attorneys had pulled from those documents in pointing out that unlike other defendants in the Russian Federation investigation, Flynn wasn't warned in advance that it was a crime to lie to the FBI.

Smith read from Mueller saying that someone in Flynn's position "does not need to be warned it is a crime to lie to federal agents to know the importance of telling him the truth". According to the memo, after Flynn gave false statements about knowing the Russian Ambassador the agents gave him multiple chances to correct his statements.

Federal prosecutors said in a separate hearing that Flynn deserved little to no prison time, because of the information he provided the investigation. They describe him as a model cooperator who has provided substantial assistance in the investigation into whether Trump associates coordinated with Russian election interference.

Law enforcement officials grew so concerned about his contacts with Kislyak and his false accounts of them that they warned the White House that Flynn might be compromised by the Kremlin.

FILE - In this February 1, 2017, file photo, then - National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington.

"A term of probation with minimal conditions of supervision is just punishment", Flynn's lawyers said in the 178-page memorandum.

When Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow would not retaliate, Kislyak called Flynn to say the decision was in response to his request, according to court documents.

Cohen - who for more than a decade was a key power player in the Trump Organization and a fixture in Trump's political life - said he "gave loyalty to someone who, truthfully, does not deserve loyalty".

The special counsel's office also notes that Flynn, who was previously a high-ranking national security official, should have been cognizant of what he was doing.

Flynn, however, agreed to be interviewed alone. After being fired by Trump that spring, Comey was later criticized by the Justice Department inspector general for going behind the back of Yates' predecessor, Obama-era Attorney General Loretta Lynch, to hold a press conference about the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

The defendants, their fortunes sliding in opposite directions, represent starkly different paths in Mueller's investigation - a model cooperator on one end and, prosecutors say, a dishonest and resistant witness on the other.


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