The Russia investigation might not be at an end—there are still witnesses to be pulled in from of the grand jury, whole areas of the investigation that seem barely exploded, so much where that seems left to do—but it does seem to be moving to the endgame. Announcements over the last day suggest that details of the investigation that have long been held close to Robert Mueller’s chest are about to become public in a way that could end speculation, and provide a preview of his final report.
Months after the announcement that Michael Flynn had signed a cooperative agreement with the investigation in which he would plead guilty to perjury in exchange for withholding other charges, the special counsel has announced that he’s prepared to recommend sentencing for Flynn. This certainly indicates that Mueller has heard all that he needs to hear from Donald Trump’s former national security advisor … though none of what he’s heard has been made public.
Reuters reports that sentencing recommendations for Flynn will be made on Tuesday, ahead of a court appearance scheduled for December 18. Flynn’s single guilty plea of lying to the FBI could need him as much as five years in prison, but it’s expected that he could get no jail time at all—or close to it—should the special counsel feel he’s been honest and complete in the information he provided. Considering that Flynn was up to his neck in multiple meetings with the Russian ambassador, illegal lobbying for Turkey, and even a scheme to kidnap a US resident and turn him over for almost certain execution, that’s a pretty extraordinary deal. Hopefully, whatever Flynn has been talking about for the last year, it’s been worth it. The fact that Mueller has at several times in the past asked for Flynn’s sentencing to be delayed, certainly suggests he’s been talking about something.
It’s unlikely that the sentencing proposal for Flynn will illuminate everything he has been sharing with the special counsel. However, this will be one of the first chances to look into what has been one of the most opaque, and oddly quiet, areas of the investigation. By the time Flynn is sentenced, it will have been a full year since his plea deal, and in all that time nothing at all has leaked about his discussions with the special counsel. Ending the conversation with Flynn would certainly appear to represent a milestone for the investigation.
And, as Yahoo News reports, the document on Flynn is just one of the boxes that could be checked this week as Mueller brings parts of the investigation to completion. On Friday, the special counsel’s office will release public memos concerning both Trump attorney Michael Cohen, and Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort. Mueller has described this action as “tying up loose ends,” and now it seems the public will finally learn if all those ends will form a net around Donald Trump.
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