ABC News is reporting that former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s lawyer met with members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team this morning. This follows reports last week that Flynn’s legal team was no longer coordinating his defense with attorneys for Donald Trump.
A Trump administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation, confirmed that Flynn’s lawyers have stopped sharing information with Trump’s team, but described the move as routine and said that it would not affect the president.
These are both strong signs that Michael Flynn is at least attempting to make a deal with Robert Mueller to reduce expected charges against both the former national security adviser and his son.
Sources familiar with the Flynn investigation have told ABC News the retired general has felt increased pressure since prosecutors began focusing attention on his son, Michael G. Flynn, who worked as part of Flynn Intel Group, the consulting firm founded by the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He also traveled with his father to Russia in 2015 for his now famous appearance at a Moscow dinner where he sat next to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
That Flynn would flip is not unexpected. The way Mueller’s team has been working—gradually ramping up the pressure, pulling in associates and relatives involved in illegal activities, showing their seriousness through indictments and actions—is a classic way of “rolling up” a mob organization. It’s a process that’s designed to get cooperation from people high up in the leadership.
“If you’re dead to rights, flipping on others and cooperating with the prosecution is the only sane and rational move,” tweeted Bharara, the former U.S. attorney for New York’s southern district.
But for Mueller to make a deal with Flynn: there’s only one name worth considering.
It’s been evident from the beginning that Donald Trump was very concerned about what Michael Flynn knows. The reason that Trump pressed former FBI Director James Comey over ‘letting Flynn go’ wasn’t because they were lifelong pals—Trump has no lifelong pals. By pushing Flynn out under the flimsy excuse of his not playing straight with Mike Pence, Trump hoped he could put Putin’s tablemate out of the picture.
But not only was Flynn calling up the Russian ambassador for private discussions, he was very, very busy.
Democrats in Congress have told ABC News they forwarded information to the Mueller team alleging that Flynn illegally concealed more than a dozen foreign contacts and overseas trips during the process of renewing his security clearances.
Some of these trips happened before Flynn became involved in the Trump campaign. But not all of them. That includes Flynn’s involvement with a Russian nuclear deal.
Flynn remained involved in the Middle Eastern nuclear project from the spring of 2015 to the end of 2016, according to recent financial disclosure filings, a period that partially overlapped with his role as a prominent adviser to Trump’s campaign and transition.
Flynn’s violations of both the FARA laws on working as a foreign agent and his failure to report foreign trips and associations in reapplying for his security clearance are both obvious. However, neither is likely to represent the Big Ammo in Mueller’s case against Flynn. Flynn could make a very good case, based on previous lax enforcement, that he should go skipping away from these violations. However, that’s not true of Flynn’s apparent $15 million kidnapping contract, a deal that also entangles Flynn Jr.
Under the alleged proposal, Mr. Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr., were to be paid as much as $15 million for delivering Fethullah Gulen to the Turkish government, according to people with knowledge of discussions Mr. Flynn had with Turkish representatives.
Stack that on top of financial misdeeds and Flynn could be looking at jail time that’s equivalent to that earned by Paul Manafort’s tens of millions in money laundering. It’s also a charge that Flynn would have a tough time fighting—he wrote an editorial filled with propaganda against Gulen on Election Day.
Former CIA director James Woolsey confirmed to ABC News he was at a meeting in which Flynn allegedly raised the idea.
“It became clear to me that, they were seriously considering a kidnapping operation for Gulen, and I told them then that it was a bad idea, it was illegal,” Woolsey said. “I won’t say that they had firmly decided to do that. But they were seriously considering it.”
The idea that Flynn should flip isn’t surprising. The only question is: What does he have to offer?
Because, really, to make a deal that would keep either Flynn or his son out of jail … there’s only one name that’s worth it.
Mueller is closing in. Flynn’s lawyer met with Mueller’s team today. Mueller will only give Flynn a deal if he provides genuinely valuable info on people higher up the food chain. Not many higher than National Security Adviser.