Mueller: Michael Flynn provided extensive cooperation in Russia probe, shouldn’t serve prison time

WASHINGTON ― Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn has offered extensive cooperation in the Russia investigation and shouldn’t spend any time in prison, special counsel Robert Mueller’s team said in a court filing on Tuesday.

Mueller’s team, in twomemos filed ahead of Flynn’s Dec. 18 sentencing, said that Flynn participated in 19 interviews with the special counsel or other DOJ officers and provided documents and communications. One memo ― heavily redacted ― specified some of the evidence that Flynn provided.

“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 [special counsel’s office],” Mueller’s office wrote. “Additionally, the defendant’s decision to plead guilty and cooperate likely affected the decisions of related firsthand witnesses to be forthcoming with the SCO and cooperate.”

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Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn
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Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn
National security adviser General Michael Flynn delivers a statement daily briefing at the White House in Washington U.S., February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn arrives at the Trump Tower for meetings with US President-elect Donald Trump, in New York on November 17, 2016.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Retired United States Army lieutenant general Michael T. Flynn introduces Republican Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump before he delivered a speech at The Union League of Philadelphia on September 7, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Trump spoke about his plans to build up the military if elected. Recent national polls show the presidential race is tightening with two months until the election.

(Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, at podium, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attend a campaign event with veterans at the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Ave., NW, where Trump stated he believes President Obama was born in the United States, September 16, 2016.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (L) yields the briefing room podium to National Security Adviser Michael Flynn February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Flynn said the White House is 'officially putting Iran on notice' for a recent missile test and support for Houthi rebels in Yemen. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, prepares to testify at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled 'Current and Future Worldwide Threats,' featuring testimony by he and James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (C) arrives prior to a joint news conference between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn boards Air Force One at West Palm Beach International airport in West Palm Beach, Florida U.S., February 12, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
National security adviser General Michael Flynn arrives to deliver a statement during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington U.S., February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (L) arrives at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 10: (AFP OUT) White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (R) walks down the West Wing Colonnade following a bilateral meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe February 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump and Abe are expected to discuss many issues, including trade and security ties and will hold a joint press confrence later in the day. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 02: (L-R) SCAD Dramatic writing professor Chris Auer, Producer Sandra Leviton, Executive producer and writer Michael Flynn, Tv literary agent Jeff Greenberg and Literary manager and producer Kaila York speak on stage during the 'Inside the Writers Room' event on Day One of aTVfest 2017 presented by SCAD on February 2, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SCAD)
Lieutenant General Michael Flynn (ret.), National Security Advisor Designate speaks during a conference on the transition of the US Presidency from Barack Obama to Donald Trump at the US Institute Of Peace in Washington DC, January 10, 2017. / AFP / CHRIS KLEPONIS (Photo credit should read CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, U.S. national security advisor, attends a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a hallmark of our democracy. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Michael Flynn walks out after a morning worship service on Inauguration day at St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, DC on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Attorney General nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) (R), talks with National Security Advisor Michael Flynn inside of the inaugural parade reviewing stand in front of the White House on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. Donald Trump was sworn in as the nation's 45th president today. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, White House national security adviser-designate, center, stands in an elevator at Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. Donald Trump is slated to meet with AT&T Inc.'s top executives on Thursday to discuss the company's proposed $85.4 billion bid for Time Warner Inc., according to people familiar with the matter. The president-elect has said he opposes the deal. Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Donald Trump's National Security Adviser Gen. Michael T. Flynn (R) arrives on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Lieutenant General Michael Flynn (ret.) and National Security Advisor Designate and Ambassador Susan Rice, National Security Advisor during a ceremonial passing of authority while participating in a conference on the transition of the US Presidency from Barack Obama to Donald Trump at the US Institute Of Peace in Washington DC, January 10, 2017. / AFP / CHRIS KLEPONIS (Photo credit should read CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/Getty Images)
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Flynn pleaded guilty last December to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian government while he was serving as White House national security adviser.

Flynn ― who joined in chants of “lock her up” against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Republican National Convention ― admitted that he made a false statement to the FBI on Jan. 24, 2017. Flynn had denied that he’d asked the Russian ambassador not to retaliate over U.S. sanctions the Obama administration imposed in December 2016 in response to Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential election.

Flynn admitted in his plea that he spoke to the Russians at the direction of Trump transition team officials.

Flynn has played an outsized role in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He had attended a 2015 gala in honor of RT ― the Moscow-controlled news station formerly known as Russia Today that later registered as a foreign agent of Russia ― where he sat next to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After Flynn lied to FBI agents about his contacts with Russia in the beginning days of the Trump administration, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates warned top Trump administration officials that Flynn was “compromised” and “could essentially be blackmailed” by the Russians. But Flynn refused to resign for weeks.

Flynn’s name remained relevant to the Russia inquiry even after his firing. In a contemporaneous memo documenting his interaction with the president, former FBI Director James Comey said Trump expressed hope Comey could “see your way clear to letting this go,” referring to the agency’s investigation of Flynn, and called Flynn a “good guy.”

Rudy Giuliani, one of the president’s lawyers, claimed earlier this year that such a conversation never took place, but also said “there’s nothing wrong with that” if it did.

After his firing, Flynn retroactively registered as a foreign agent for work his firm did for a Turkish company. A subsequently released financial disclosure report also revealed that Flynn received speaking fees from two other Russian firms in addition to RT.

The new filing follows a whirlwind week for Mueller’s team. After receiving heavily vetted written answers from President Donald Trump on a wide variety of topics, Mueller’s team last week accused former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of breaking his plea deal by lying and extracted another guilty plea from former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to a fresh charge of lying to Congress about talks between the Trump Organization and Russia about a potential Trump Tower in Moscow.

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos also reported to federal prison last Monday to serve a two-week sentence after a judge shut down his last-minute attempt to back out of a plea deal, while conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi ― who was in plea negotiations with Mueller’s team ― made public a document that outlined Mueller’s theory of contacts between Corsi, Trump associate Roger Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Yahoo News reported this week that Mueller’s team is “tying up loose ends” in the investigation and preparing to bring the probe, which began in May 2017, to a close.

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