Robert Mueller is expected to disclose on Tuesday how Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, has been assisting his investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
Mueller, the special counsel leading the Trump-Russia inquiry, is scheduled to file a memo to court in Washington DC that will recommend a sentence for Flynn, who has been cooperating since December last year, when he admitted lying to the FBI.
The sentencing of Flynn, a retired US army lieutenant general, was delayed four times after Mueller repeatedly said he needed more time “due to the status of the investigation” – an indication that he wanted to protect sensitive information.
Flynn admitted lying to investigators about his communications with Russia’s ambassador to the US late in December 2016. The discussions related to sanctions then president Barack Obama had imposed on Moscow over its interference in the US election, and a UN security council vote on halting new Israeli settlements.
Trump and White House advisers were anxiously awaiting the filing on Tuesday, following more explosive developments in Mueller’s investigation.
Last week Michael Cohen, Trump’s former legal fixer, said he had lied to Congress about Trump’s plans to build a tower in Moscow, in an attempt to protect the president. Days earlier Mueller’s team scrapped a plea deal with Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, after he allegedly continued lying to investigators even after promising to cooperate.
The president claimed on Twitter on Monday that Mueller was “a much different man than people think” and praised his longtime associate Roger Stone for refusing to testify against him – a move legal experts said could amount to criminal witness tampering.
Sentencing memos filed by Mueller in other prosecutions so far, including former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, have contained new information about wrongdoing and cooperation by the subjects.
Mueller has said that on 29 December 2016, Flynn asked Russia’s ambassador not to retaliate against Obama’s sanctions, after receiving instructions from a senior member of Trump’s transition team, who was with the president-elect at Trump’s private club in Florida.
Russian president Vladimir Putin indicated in a statement the following day that Russia would not retaliate, a move Trump praised as “very smart”. Mueller said the Russian ambassador then called Flynn on 31 December to explain that Putin’s decision was a response to Flynn’s request.
Mueller also said that under direction from a “very senior” member of the Trump team, reported to be Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Flynn successfully urged Russia to vote against the resolution on Israel at the UN.
Flynn could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, but is likely to receive a lesser sentence. His attorneys are expected to request that he be placed on probation and not have to spend time in prison.
Mueller’s memo is due to be filed at the federal court by midnight on Tuesday. Sections of the document could be kept under seal, meaning they would not be viewable to the public.
This article provided by NewsEdge.