Mueller memo cites Flynn’s ‘sub­stan­tial as­sis­tance’

USA TODAY US Edition - - NEWS - Christal Hayes

WASH­ING­TON – Pros­e­cu­tors from spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s of­fice re­leased a memo Tues­day evening de­tail­ing the level of co­op­er­a­tion by Michael Flynn, the pres­i­dent’s for­mer na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser.

The 13-page doc­u­ment goes through the al­le­ga­tions against Flynn, in­clud­ing his lies to the FBI about con­tacts with Rus­sia dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion and all the work Flynn has done be­hind the scenes to help Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tors in the year since ac­cept­ing a plea agree­ment.

Flynn is sched­uled to be sen­tenced Dec. 18.

Mueller is in­ves­ti­gat­ing Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 elec­tion and whether there was co­or­di­na­tion be­tween Rus­sia and Trump’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

No prison time?

Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tors rec­om­mended that Flynn re­ceive no prison time and cited his “sub­stan­tial as­sis­tance” in the year since he be­gan co­op­er­at­ing with in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

Flynn, who called for the jail­ing of Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton dur­ing the 2016 Repub­li­can con­ven­tion, took a plea deal last De­cem­ber after be­ing ac­cused of ly­ing to the FBI.

Flynn ad­mit­ted ly­ing about con­ver­sa­tions he’d had with Sergey Kislyak, Rus­sia’s am­bas­sador to the United States. Flynn dis­cussed U.S. sanc­tions with Kislyak on Trump’s be­half dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion and said mem­bers of the pres­i­dent’s in­ner cir­cle were aware of, and in some cases di­rect­ing, his ef­forts, ac­cord­ing to the plea.

Flynn urged Kislyak not to re­spond to sanc­tions im­posed by the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion in re­sponse to Rus­sian elec­tion in­ter­fer­ence.

Flynn’s FBI in­ter­view oc­curred in Jan­uary 2017, shortly after he took his post as na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser in the Trump White House. He was forced to re­sign in Fe­bru­ary 2017.

He ad­mit­ted he lied to FBI agents about his work lob­by­ing on be­half of the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment. He later reg­is­tered with the Jus­tice Depart­ment as a for­eign agent be­cause of the work.

“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’s team said in the memo.

The re­quest for no prison time is some­thing of a rar­ity; Mueller’s team hasn’t made a sim­i­lar re­quest for any­one else charged in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Oth­ers fol­lowed Flynn

Flynn was one of the ear­li­est to take a deal with Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tors, and they said it may have helped ease oth­ers into co­op­er­at­ing.

“The de­fen­dant’s de­ci­sion to plead guilty and co­op­er­ate likely af­fected the de­ci­sions of re­lated first­hand wit­nesses to be forth­com­ing with the SCO (spe­cial coun­sel’s of­fice) and co­op­er­ate,” Mueller’s team wrote. The memo states that Flynn helped “on a range of is­sues, in­clud­ing in­ter­ac­tions be­tween in­di­vid­u­als in the pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion team and Rus­sia.”

He of­fered “first­hand in­for­ma­tion about the con­tent and con­text of in­ter­ac­tions be­tween the tran­si­tion team and Rus­sian gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials,” Mueller’s team said in the doc­u­ment.

Many of the ex­am­ples in the memo are blacked out be­cause in­ves­ti­ga­tions are on­go­ing.

Mueller’s team wrote that Flynn’s co­op­er­a­tion was “par­tic­u­larly valu­able,” given he was one of the few in­di­vid­u­als with “longterm and first­hand” knowl­edge of events that the spe­cial coun­sel in­ves­ti­gated.

“The de­fen­dant de­serves credit for ac­cept­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity in a timely fash­ion and sub­stan­tially as­sist­ing the gov­ern­ment,” Mueller’s team wrote. “Shortly after the SCO reached out to the de­fen­dant to seek his co­op­er­a­tion, the de­fen­dant ac­cepted re­spon­si­bil­ity for his un­law­ful con­duct and be­gan co­op­er­at­ing with the gov­ern­ment.”

GE­ORGE FREY

Michael Flynn was briefly part of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion.

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