President Donald Trump weighed in with his own theory on why special counsel Robert Mueller recommended no jail time for former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn: embarrassment.
“They gave General Flynn a great deal because they were embarrassed by the way he was treated,” Trump tweeted on Thursday. “The FBI said he didn’t lie and they overrode the FBI. They want to scare everybody into making up stories that are not true by catching them in the smallest of misstatements. Sad!…WITCH HUNT!”
They gave General Flynn a great deal because they were embarrassed by the way he was treated – the FBI said he didn’t lie and they overrode the FBI. They want to scare everybody into making up stories that are not true by catching them in the smallest of misstatements. Sad!……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2018
Last week, Mueller filed a sentencing memorandum in federal district court in Washington, D.C., recommending no jail time for Flynn given his “substantial assistance” with the Russia probe.
Flynn’s legal team submitted its own filing this week calling for probation and community service for their client for making a false statement to federal agents days after Trump took office in January 2017.
In the document, Flynn’s attorneys allege that then-FBI Deputy Direct Andrew McCabe pushed the retired three-star general to not have an attorney present during the informal questioning at the White House, which ultimately led to their client’s guilty plea in December 2017.
The legal team also claimed that FBI agents deliberately failed to inform him during their initial sitdown that making false statements could constitute a crime.
Fox News reported that according to the agents’ account of the meeting, Flynn was “relaxed and jocular” and gave the agents a “little tour” of his West Wing office.
A House Intelligence Committee report released in May revealed that McCabe testified that the two agents, after speaking with Flynn, “didn’t think he was lying.”
One of the questioners was FBI special agent Peter Strzok, who has since been fired from the bureau.
Another point of interest is the so-called “302” report of the meeting by the agents, documenting what Flynn told them in January, was dated Aug. 22, 2017.
“The August date on the FBI 302 cited by the Flynn team is nearly seven months after the Flynn interview took place, and about a week after reports surfaced that Strzok had been summarily removed from Mueller’s Russia probe because his persistent anti-Trump communications had surfaced,” according to Fox News.
“So-called 302 reports are ostensibly contemporaneous accounts by agents of what is said during their interviews with witnesses and subjects, as well as other critical details like interviewees’ demeanor and descriptions of where the interview took place,” the news network added. “They are often critical pieces of evidence in false statements cases where, as in the Flynn case, the FBI typically does not audio- or video-record interviews.”
In response to Flynn’s filing, federal district court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan has ordered Mueller’s office to turn over all government documents related to Flynn’s questioning and has directed Flynn’s attorneys to do the same by 3 p.m. Eastern on Friday.
Sullivan, a Ronald Reagan appointee, overturned the criminal conviction of former Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens in the spring of 2009 prior to sentencing. Stevens’ guilty verdict had come just days before his 2008 re-election bid in November, a race which he lost by just over 1 percent of the vote.
A probe of the DOJ prompted by a whistleblower had revealed evidence of gross prosecutorial misconduct, including withholding exculpatory evidence from the senator’s legal team, CNN reported.
“In nearly 25 years on the bench, I’ve never seen anything approaching the mishandling and misconduct that I’ve seen in this case,” Sullivan said at the time.
On Wednesday, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy called Mueller’s sentencing memo concerning Flynn, “the biggest feint of all time.”
“General Flynn is going to get a no-jail sentence,” McCarthy predicted on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”
The 20-year veteran prosecutor for Southern District of New York added: “If Mueller had said nothing, General Flynn was going to get a no-jail sentence. He committed a process crime, which has sentencing guidelines of zero to six months. But he’s a first offender, and on the positive side of the ledger, he’s got a 30-year history of courageous, decorated service to the United States.”
Fox News host Bill Hemmer questioned why Mueller submitted his memo if what McCarthy was saying is true.
“When the judge walks Flynn … what will be reported is that he was given a no-jail sentence because of the great cooperation that he gave to Mueller’s investigation,” he answered.
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