Say, remember retired Lt. General Michael Flynn? He was Donald Trump’s national security adviser for about a minute.
Flynn’s service to the Trump White House ended badly.
He was the first, very high profile member of the president’s team to be forced to step away, because of his questionable activities with members of the Russian government during the 2016 election season.
He was also the first high profile member of Trump’s administration to agree to work with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.
And here’s the thing: He’s been hanging out, just behind the curtains for a year, while other members of Trump’s circle have been caught up, charged, brought before a judge. Some have even already been sent to serve time.
Others have made cooperation agreements, as well, but the fact that Flynn has been seemingly kept on a back burner for all this time, to the point that those who haven’t followed this investigation closely would likely have overlooked him, says something.
Well, as everyone seems to feel Robert Mueller is preparing his final act, he has brought Flynn back to the forefront, and will be filing court papers by midnight on Tuesday, revealing the extent of Flynn’s cooperation with the investigation.
What has Flynn been telling them, for the past year?
The special counsel’s office is expected to describe the crimes Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, committed that led to his guilty plea a year ago and how he has helped the Russia probe this year. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators on December 1, 2017. The coming filing is meant to brief a federal judge before Flynn’s sentencing.
Some of the details in Tuesday’s filing could be described under seal, especially if parts of the investigation that Flynn contributed to are not yet public.
So what did Flynn do that has made him such a crucial part of the Russia probe?
He lied about his contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign, to begin with.
He was also serving as the go-between in communications that went back and forth between Trump’s team and then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.The talks centered around easing sanctions on Russia, as well as influencing the votes of foreign nations, regarding Israeli settlements.
Specifically, Flynn called senior Trump transition team members at Mar-a-Lago in Florida three times in late December 2016 to discuss conversations he was having with Kislyak about sanctions. He then relayed his conversation with Kislyak to transition adviser KT McFarland.
Separately, according to CNN reporting and his plea documents, Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, directed Flynn to contact foreign officials before Trump took office about the UN vote on settlements.
Flynn also pleaded guilty to lying on his foreign lobbying registrations about his work on a lobbying project for Turkey.
Flynn was ultimately booted from his position as national security adviser, three weeks into it, after he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with Russian officials.
It was then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates that blew the whistle.
It was shortly after he was released from his position that former FBI Director James Comey claims Trump asked him to let the Flynn investigation go.
In the past year, prosecutors have moved to have Flynn’s sentencing delayed four separate times, citing the status of the investigation as their reason for the delay.
That would indicate that Flynn has been cooperating and the information gleaned is valuable.
He did have an oversized role in Trump’s campaign. He likewise was a part of the transition team, each as pins on the timeline of Russian interference in the election.
Flynn was the person who informed Trump that Russian President Vladimir Putin was the first to call him after Trump’s inauguration, according to Comey.
And the Wall Street Journal has outlined Flynn’s alleged contacts with the late Peter W. Smith, who sought out the Russian hackers who obtained Clinton campaign emails. It is unclear if Mueller’s office is still pursuing Smith’s actions during the campaign.
Things will likely be more clear after the court filings today, since this could give us an idea of what criminal indictments may be coming next.