Mueller memo denies Flynn was coerced into lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation


People close to him tell The Associated Press that as the possibility of prison looms, Flynn is relaxed and hopeful, eager to get through Tuesday's sentencing and move forward.

In a memo to the court, prosecutors from special counsel Robert Mueller's office said there was no basis for Flynn's implication that he was coerced into lying when he spoke to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on January 24, 2017.

Nevertheless, Flynn agreed to the interview, and told McCabe that he wouldn't bring with him any lawyers, which McCabe told Flynn would have required going through some extra hoops on his end at the Justice Department. "The Court should reject the defendant's attempt to minimize the seriousness of those false statements to the FBI", Mueller argued."The circumstances of the defendant's interview also show that his decision to make false statements was voluntary and intentional".

According to notes from a July 2017 FBI interview with Peter Strzok - the lead FBI agent who interviewed Flynn and who later got kicked off the Russian Federation probe for anti-Trump texts - then-FBI Director James Comey was only going to tell Yates right before the interview about the plan, though he ended up telling her a little earlier when she called him about another matter.

"What I recall telling the House Intelligence Committee is that the agents observed none of the common indicia of lying - physical manifestations, changes in tone, changes in pace - that would indicate the person I'm interviewing knows they're telling me stuff that ain't true", Comey said. Both prosecutors and Flynn's attorneys have said he doesn't deserve to go to prison.

In the wake of the column, Flynn denied at the time to fellow White House officials -ncluding Vice President-elect Pence and incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus - that he and Kislyak had discussed sanctions in their conversation.

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CORNISH: You've also just received a separate filing in another investigation related to Russian Federation, and this one's tied to Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn. And the only notes directly related to the January 2017 interview with Flynn was a summary written by McCabe, who seemed to have convinced Flynn the goal of the meeting was to discuss leaks to the media about his calls with Ambassador Kislyak. In a public statement after his plea, Flynn has said he cooperated with prosecutors because it was in "the best interests of my family and our country". American intelligence agencies and Mueller have said Russian Federation was the source of hacked material released by WikiLeaks during the campaign that was damaging to Hillary Clinton's presidential effort.

Flynn has given 19 interviews to prosecutors, five of those before he pleaded guilty, according to his filing.

Still, Flynn's lawyers, Robert Kelner and Stephen Anthony, said their client never backed away from accepting responsibility for his crime, and he quickly began cooperating with federal investigators, ultimately sitting for 62 hours and 45 minutes of questioning. Last week, the special counsel's office recommended little to no jail time due to his cooperation. McCabe wrote that he told Flynn that if he wanted to involve anyone else in the conversation - like the White House Counsel's Office -- McCabe would have to involve the Justice Department.

In a memo submitted to the court on December 11, Flynn's lawyers explain that then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe called Flynn on a secure phone to the White House on January 24.

On Feb. 21, 2018, Judge Sullivan filed what is known as a "Brady Ruling" instructing the prosecution team to hand over any exculpatory evidence to Flynn and his legal team that had been withheld from them up to that point. In 2016, Flynn was a retired general passionately supporting Donald Trump for president.