On Tuesday evening, Special Counsel Robert Mueller provided sentencing recommendations for former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. The sentencing documents commend Flynn for his cooperation and recommend that he receive the minimum sentence for his offense of lying to investigators. Which would likely mean probation only, with no time in prison, not even the relatively minimal sentences handed down for offenders like George Papadopoulos. Considering the array of potential charges against Flynn—not only for his actions related to Russia, but for illegal foreign lobbying on behalf of Turkey—that falls under the category of A Very Good Deal.
Attached to the sentencing proposal is a memo detailing just why the government believes that Flynn deserves such good treatment from the court. That memo breaks down Flynn’s assistance into two categories: His help to the special counsel’s office in investigating ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and his assistance in a criminal investigation. Unfortunately, of the six page memo, fully half is blacked out.
On the criminal investigation, it’s not possible from this document to tell what assistance Flynn provided, the nature of the crime being investigated, or even the jurisdiction in which this matter is taking place. It’s clear that this investigation is not something being conducted by the special counsel’s office. It could be connected to Russia. It could be connected to Turkey. It may detail the plot to arrange the rendition of cleric Fethullah Gülen from the United States and turn him over to Turkish president Recep Erdoğan. Flynn was involved in this plot, and even wrote an editorial as part of the effort to send Gülen to almost certain death. But any statement about the criminal investigation that Flynn was assisting is purely speculative, as every word of this section is blacked out.
The next part of the document concerns Flynn’s assistance to Mueller’s investigation. The header on that section says explicitly that Flynn assisted the Special Counsel’s Office “concerning links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign.” That would be … collusion. Or, in a legal sense, conspiracy against the United States. The document then notes that Flynn assisted, among other things, with connections between Trump’s transition team and Russia.
The remainder of the document is broken into sections under the broader heading of assistance that Flynn provided to the special counsel. The first section concerns the transition team. Specifically, the document mentions Flynn’s own communications with the Russian ambassador and the exchange of information between Trump’s team and Russia on two issues, including that of Russian sanctions. There is something else that Flynn passed along concerning the transition team, but that item is blacked out.
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