Flynn re-emerges as key player into probe of Trump Rus­sia ties

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - Milwaukee Wisconsin - Kevin John­son and Bart Jansen

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.”

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