Flynn re-emerges as key player into probe of Trump Russia ties
WASHINGTON – Among the blacked-out court papers outlining the extensive cooperation Michael Flynn provided to Russia special counsel Robert Mueller is a powerful acknowledgment that President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser assisted not only Mueller’s inquiry but at least two other investigations.
The subjects of the investigations were not identified, nor did the documents elaborate on Flynn’s specific contributions.
The court filing signals that the retired Army lieutenant general is likely to play an increasingly larger role as the investigations shadowing the Trump administration grind to a conclusion.
The sensitive nature of Flynn’s cooperation, prosecutors said, required that the details remain under seal, adding that the “benefit may not be fully realized at this time because the investigations in which he has provided assistance are ongoing.”
“The defendant provided first-hand information about the content and context of interactions between the (Trump) transition team and Russian government officials,” the court documents state.
Mueller’s conclusions, legal analysts said, probably served as a warning to administration members who worked closely with the national security adviser and were consulted on his Russian contacts, specifically involving Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Flynn’s cooperation was secured last year as part of his guilty plea to lying to the FBI in part about his pre-inaugural contacts with Kislyak related to sanctions imposed by the Obama administration for Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign.
“The message that this sends, given Flynn’s central role in the transition (to the Trump administration), is that if transition members are not fully lawyered-up yet, they should do so now,” said Ilene Jaroslaw, a former federal prosecutor who worked with Mueller’s aides in the Brooklyn U.S. attorney’s office. “This document, even though it is heavily redacted, speaks louder than any public statement or press conference could ever accomplish.”