Michael Flynn provided assistance so “substantial” to the Special Counsel Office’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election that he should be spared prison time, a sentencing report about the ex-national security advisor said Tuesday.
Flynn partook in 19 interviews with the office of special counsel Robert Mueller or lawyers from other Department of Justice (DOJ) offices, the report said.
Coverage of Michael Flynn on Globalnews.ca:
He could have faced anywhere between zero and six months in prison after he gave false statements to “numerous DOJ entities” regarding his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. after the election, as well as his work with the Republic of Turkey.
But because Flynn was so helpful, the Special Counsel’s Office said he should face a sentence that “does not impose a term of incarceration.”
That assistance was spelled out in a heavily-redacted addendum to the sentencing report.
It said Flynn was helpful on two matters: an unspecified criminal investigation, the details of which were completely blacked out, and the SCO’s investigation into Russian interference.
Flynn assisted the SCO’s investigation on a “range of issues, including interactions between individuals in the presidential transition team and Russia.”
That sentence contained more detail, but the rest of it was redacted.
The addendum noted that Flynn had communicated with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. as a representative of the president’s transition team.
It said he spoke with the ambassador on two matters: one was sanctions and other measures imposed on Russia by the Obama administration following interference in the 2016 election, the other was a United Nations Security Council vote on a resolution that called on Israel to stop erecting settlements in Palestinian lands.
“Several senior members of the transition team publicly repeated false information conveyed to them by the defendant about communications between him and the Russian ambassador regarding the sanctions,” the addendum said.
Any further details about Flynn’s assistance were blacked out.
The addendum praised Flynn’s timeliness in coming forward, saying he started providing the government with information “not long after the government first sought his cooperation.”
“His early cooperation was particularly valuable because he was one of the few people with long-term and firsthand insight regarding events and issues under investigation by the SCO,” it said.
In deciding on the sentence that Flynn should face, prosecutors took note of his extensive history in the military and public service.
They noted that he spent 33 years in the military, with five years on combat duty, leading the Defense Intelligence Agency and retiring as a three-star lieutenant general.
“The defendant’s extensive government service distinguish him from every other person who has been charged as part of the SCO’s investigation,” the sentencing report said.
Nevertheless, his government service “should have made him particularly aware of the harm caused by providing false information to the government, as well as the rules governing work performed on behalf of a foreign government.”