Michael Flynn was approached both before and after agreeing to cooperate with the special counsel’s office by people inside the Trump White House and by someone connected with Congress in an attempt to get him to end his cooperation. What he turned over to Robert Mueller’s team showed both incidents of obstruction that were not covered in the redacted report, and included a recording of Trump’s personal attorney making what seems to be both a threat and an offer of a pardon.
On Thursday evening, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia unsealed sentencing documents for Michael Flynn. Included in those documents were descriptions of how Flynn assisted prosecutors, including both the cases he had been involved with, and the way in which his cooperation had assisted the investigation.
The documents show that Flynn’s cooperation was vital in three different cases: the criminal investigation into how Flynn’s former business partner acted as an unregistered agent for Turkey; the special counsel investigation into connections between the Trump campaign and Russia; and a third case, the description of which remains redacted. Some speculation has suggested that the third case may be related to the ongoing trial of Roger Stone, or other potential cases related to WikiLeaks. Others have suggested that it might represent Flynn’s knowledge of some financial matter related to the Trump Organization … which mostly shows just how little is known about the multiple cases still pending in various jurisdictions following the Mueller investigation.
What is clear is that in the special counsel investigation, a major factor in Flynn’s cooperation was just keeping Mueller’s office apprised of the many efforts to get Flynn to stop cooperating. That included providing the special counsel with a voice message left with Flynn’s attorney by “Trump’s personal attorney,” which was likely John Dowd at the time of the call. Dowd’s call begins with what appears to be a threat “I understand your situation, but let me see if I can’t state it in starker terms…” and ends with what sounds like a dangled offer. “Remember what I’ve always said about the president and his feelings toward Flynn, and that still remains …”
But the biggest revelation of the sentencing documents may be that it wasn’t just people inside the Trump White House or campaign who were phoning up Flynn to convince him to walk away from his deal with Mueller. Those calls were coming from “persons connected to the Administration or
Congress.” And there are tapes.
A partial transcript of the call from Dowd has been released on the order of Judge Emmet Sullivan.
I understand your situation, but let me see if I can’t state it in starker terms. … It wouldn’t surprise me if you’ve gone on to make a deal with … the government. If there’s information that implicates the president, then we’ve got a national security issue, … so, you know … we need some kind of head’s up. Um, just for the sake of all our interests if we can. … Remember what I’ve always said about the president and his feelings toward Flynn, and that still remains …
Judge Sullivan has also ordered that the transcript of a call that Flynn himself made to the Russian ambassador be made public by May 31. That call was made in December 2016, before Trump took office. In it, Flynn apparently told the ambassador that Russia should not be upset by sanctions announced by President Obama, and strongly suggests that when Trump took office, those sanctions would end. That call wasn’t recorded by Flynn, it was intercepted by U.S. intelligence.
In previous filings, the special counsel office recommended that Flynn receive little to no jail time because his cooperation amounted to “substantial assistance.” The unsealed documents show that Mueller’s team was unaware of the efforts to stop Flynn from testifying until Flynn brought the information to their attention.
Judge Sullivan has ordered the special counsel’s office to turn over all relevant recordings, suggesting that these could also be released to the public, along with the remaining transcripts, sometime before May 31.
No information on the person connected to Congress who tried to convince Flynn to break his cooperation agreement has been released. The release of that name is going to be … interesting.
On Friday morning, Donald Trump tweeted that spying on his campaign was “treason” and that it meant “long jail sentences,” which seems to be connected with the information released concerning Flynn.