United States special counsel Robert Mueller will file a sentencing recommendation for Michael Flynn by tonight’s midnight deadline, the details of which could reveal new insights into the Mueller probe– including potential criminal indictments– as it details Flynn’s cooperation with the special counsel, according to CNN.
The court filing is expected to detail both the crimes that Flynn was involved with as well as how he has cooperated with the Mueller investigation over the course of the past year. Flynn was indicted and pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators on December 1, 2017. Based on the information in the filing, the federal court will consider Flynn’s cooperation when it issues his sentence. According to Reuters, the maximum sentence for lying to the FBI is five years, but Flynn’s plea agreement calls for as many as six months and as little as no jail time for Flynn, and he can ask the court not to impose a fine.
The Mueller investigation, despite repeated public attacks from President Trump and his associates, has maintained its policy of public silence during the investigation, with information only being made available when the investigation has filed court documents. Much of what is known about the investigation has been gleaned from the filings related to George Papadopoulos, Richard Pinedo, and Alex Van der Zwaan, which contained details about what each person knew and did regarding Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. While those details proved revelatory, none of those defendants cut a plea deal with the Mueller probe like Flynn did, which suggests that much more is about to be revealed about what Mueller has learned. Flynn is the first high-ranking Trump adviser to formally cooperate with the Mueller probe.
Mueller does have the option to describe some of the details of Flynn’s testimony under seal, which would prevent parts of the investigation not yet public from being revealed. Up to this point, none of the people that Flynn is alleged to have lied about has been indicted. However, Flynn was not only involved with Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign but also served as Trump’s National Security Adviser in the early days of the administration, so he will likely possess valuable insights not only into what happened during the campaign but also what happened within the administration once the special counsel investigation began.
As part of Flynn’s plea agreement, he agreed to sit with Mueller’s team for questioning as much as was required and appears to have done so. Prosecutors have delayed Flynn’s sentencing four times, citing the delay as “due to the investigation,” before making Flynn ready for sentencing in September. Thus, the Mueller investigation has enjoyed nearly a year’s worth of full cooperation from a key Trump adviser. Furthermore, in that September filing, the Mueller investigation asked that schedule for filings work around the November elections, which suggests that what Mueller has found may be politically explosive.
Flynn was charged with lying to federal prosecutors regarding his role in relaying messages between the Trump campaign to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about easing sanctions on Russia and influencing the vote of foreign governments on U.N. resolutions about Israeli settlements. He was also charged with lying on his foreign lobbying registrations. At this time it is unknown of the actual extent of his communications with Russian officials during the presidential campaign.
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