This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 10 °C Friday 26 April, 2019
Advertisement

Former US security advisor Michael Flynn may not go to jail after giving 'substantial' evidence to Russia probe

Flynn admitted to lying about his contacts with Russians last year, following Trump’s November 2016 election.

Former White House National Security Adviser to President Donald Trump Michael Flynn
Former White House National Security Adviser to President Donald Trump Michael Flynn
Image: UPI/PA Images

ROBERT MUELLER HAS recommended that President Donald Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn should face no jail time due to his “substantial” cooperation with the ongoing Russia investigation.

The special prosecutor in charge of the probe into Russia election meddling probe said in a court filing that Flynn had helped in his and other unspecified federal criminal investigations.

Flynn admitted to lying about his contacts with Russians last year, following Trump’s November 2016 election victory and has been interviewed 19 times.

Mueller also told the Washington Federal court that despite his “serious” offense, the retired three-star general and former Pentagon intelligence chief had a strong record of military and public service.

The surprise recommendation came ahead of Flynn’s upcoming sentencing, which has been postponed four times over the past year.

Those postponements indicated that Flynn, who was once hostile to the investigation that threatens Trump and his inner circle, had possibly become a valuable witness.

Compromised

“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,” Mueller said in a memorandum to the court. 

Flynn’s was the first guilty plea secured by the Mueller investigation into alleged collusion between Trump’s election campaign and Russia.

His position as a top-level insider in the campaign, accompanying Trump to key events, making a keynote speech at the July 2016 Republican convention, and then taking hold of the White House national security apparatus in Trump’s first weeks in office, made him a potentially extremely valuable witness.

But many thought his own problems had likely compromised that value.

In an interview with investigators on 24 January, 2017, four days after Trump’s inauguration, Flynn lied about conversations he had the previous December with Russia’s ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak.

In those conversations, apparently recorded by US intelligence, Flynn appeared to be trying to undermine the policy of then-President Barack Obama by making separate political deals with Moscow.

Additional investigations

At the time, Obama was planning sanctions on Russia for its interference in the 2016 election.

Flynn urged the Russians not to retaliate, suggesting Trump would reverse the sanctions.

Within weeks, Flynn was forced to resign after it was alleged that he also had lied to top White House officials about his Kislyak talks.

Then in March 2018, in a second interview with the FBI, Flynn lied about the fact that before and after the election, he had a $530,000 lobbying contract on behalf of Turkey that he had not reported.

“At the time, the defendant was a national security advisor and surrogate for the Trump campaign who opined publicly on foreign policy and national security issues,” the sentencing memorandum noted.

Despite the light sentence recommendation, the memorandum gave no hint as to what Flynn had told the Mueller team about the operations of the Trump campaign and its Russia ties.

Mueller has identified numerous contacts, including efforts by Trump aides during 2016 to set up a meeting between him and Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

In another surprise last week, Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen admitted that through the first half of 2016, even after Trump had secured the Republican nomination for president, he had top-level contacts with Moscow over a project to build a potentially 100-story Trump Tower in the Russian capital.

Mueller is also investigating a June 2016 meeting that top campaign staff, including chairman Paul Manafort, Trump’s son Donald Jr., and son-in-law Jared Kushner, had with a Russian lawyer who had offered dirt on Trump’s election opponent Hillary Clinton.

© AFP 2018 

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

AFP

Read next:

COMMENTS (21)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel