Special Counsel Robert Mueller released several documents Friday disputing the suggestion made by Michael Flynn’s attorney’s in their sentencing memo that Mr. Flynn was duped into lying in an interview with FBI agents. Among them, Mueller’s reply to the defendant’s sentencing memo; the FBI’s 302 report from the Flynn FBI interview; and, FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s notes on the interview. In his reply, Mueller says that the argument that Flynn was tricked or ambushed does not hold water, and should not be considered a mitigating factor in Flynn’s sentencing.
“Nothing about the way the interview was arranged or conducted caused the defendant to make false statements to the FBI… The defendant chose to make false statements about his communications with the Russian ambassador weeks before the FBI interview, when he lied about that topic to the media, the incoming Vice President, and other members of the Presidential Transition Team.”
According to Mueller’s reply and supporting documents, Mr. McCabe brought up the need to conduct an interview after Mr. Flynn called him on an unrelated topic. Mr. Flynn asked Mr. McCabe if the interview would concern his interactions with U.S. Ambassador to Russia Sergei Kislyak, he said it would. Nevertheless he gave false statements to the investigators even after being confronted with his own words.
During the interview, the FBI agents gave the defendant multiple opportunities to correct his false statements by revisiting key questions. When the defendant said he did not remember something they knew he said, they used the exact words the defendant had used in order to prompt a truthful response.But the defendant never corrected his false statements.
In notes following the interview, Mr. McCabe said that he told Flynn he wanted to clear the matter up as quickly and discreetly as possible. Mr. Flynn agreed and offered to do an interview that day. Mr. McCabe said that if Mr. Flynn felt he needed counsel present, he’d need to involve the Department of Justice. The quickest way to “get this done” was to just meet directly with the agents. Mr. Flynn agreed. He said he didn’t need a lawyer present and told Mr. McCabe to go ahead and send the agents over. Not having an attorney present does not, Mueller argued, absolve him of his responsibility to be truthful.
The defendant agreed to meet with the FBI agents, without counsel, and answer their questions. His obligation to provide truthful information came with that agreement; it did not turn on the presence of counsel… A sitting National Security Advisor, former head of an intelligence agency, retired Lieutenant General, and 33-year veteran of the armed forces knows he should not lie to federal agents. He does not need to be warned it is a crime to lie to federal agents to know the importance of telling them the truth. The defendant undoubtedly was aware, in light of his “many years” working with the FBI, that lying to the FBI carries serious consequences.
Nevertheless, Mueller concluded, Flynn’s cooperation and military service justifies a sentence of little or no jail time.
While the circumstances of the interview do not present mitigating considerations, assuming the defendant continues to accept responsibility for his actions, his cooperation and military service continue to justify a sentence at the low end of the guideline range.
Here are the documents in their entirety.
Mueller Reply to Flynn Sent… by on Scribd
McCabe Memo re: Flynn Inter… by on Scribd
Michael Flynn FBI Interview… by on Scribd