The Mueller Investigation Is the Second Most Important Investigation into Which Flynn Assisted
The Flynn sentencing memo, with a largely redacted addendum describing his cooperation, is out. Effectively, Mueller recommends no prison time because of Flynn’s substantial cooperation, his early cooperation, his record of service to the country.
The section on cooperation describes Flynn’s assistance in three investigations. The Mueller investigation is actually the second thing listed, which I take to suggest that the the Mueller investigation is just the second most important. My wildarse guess is that these consist of A) a criminal national security investigation (the Turkish investigation tied to Reza Zarrab could be one possibility), B) the Mueller investigation, and C) a counterintelligence investigation into the Russians. But obviously the first and third are just a guess. [Update: This post considers another possibility, that the Mueller section involves three categories.)
Between the three investigations, Flynn sat for 19 interviews with prosecutors.
Here’s the structure of how the body of the cooperation section describes the three investigations:
A Criminal Investigation:
11+ line paragraph
6.5 line paragraph
2 line paragraph
B Mueller investigation:
Introductory paragraph (9 lines)
i) Interactions between Transition Team and Russia (12 lines, just one or two sentences redacted)
ii) Topic two
10 line paragraph
9 line paragraph
C Entirely redacted investigation:
4.5 line paragraph
The description of the first and third investigations are both almost entirely redacted.
The description of his cooperation with the Mueller investigation is split into two topics — i) interactions between the transition team and Russians, plus another ii) redacted section.
The transition discussions map what appeared in his criminal information. It does make it clear that Flynn reported false information to them about his conversation with Sergei Kislyak, which means what really went on between him and Kislyak goes beyond what appeared in emails involving KT McFarland, which is pretty damning by itself. That also suggests he really may have lied to Mike Pence.
The second, almost entirely redacted section, is actually the longest, and it’s two paragraphs. If the two sections split into the transition and post-inauguration period, there might be one paragraph on policy issues and another on his firing and obstruction.
The cooperation section emphasizes that Flynn cooperated early. It suggests that because he cooperated, “related firsthand witnesses” decided to be “forthcoming with the SCO and cooperate.” We know that happened with KT McFarland.
The memo also describes Flynn as “one of the few people with long-term and firsthand insight regarding events and issues under investigation by the SCO.” That says the Russian matters were actually fairly closely held, which is itself telling.
Finally, the description of the third investigation is just five lines long.
As I disclosed in July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post.
Them bones/ Them bones / Them – bare bones
Seems to me a memo, such as this, with so little in the way of material to comfort or really anything of a binding nature, is most likely aimed at inducing a case of the runs.
Maybe Andy McCarthy will say that Mueller’s deal with Flynn, like his deal with Rick Gates, was “bizarre.”
As I’ve said before, Andy McCarthy is heading in a way that looks asymptotic but probably isn’t towards “crimes on behalf of Republicans are awesome.”
I know what those words mean, but still don’t know what you’re trying to say.
1) Asymptotic = “as close as you can be, so might as well round off to crimes are awesome”??
2) “Isn’t towards” = “he’s not really going to the dark side, it just looks that way.”
That his progress looks asymptotic — because surely a former prosecutor won’t say “crimes are awesome”! — but at some point he probably will say that.
I get the sense McCarthy’s about to abandon the “no crimes” defense in favor of a “it’s a crime for Mueller to tell the public about the crimes” approach. In the final segment of his recent podcast (beginning around 39:00 here: https://www.nationalreview.com/podcasts/the-mccarthy-report/episode-25-theatrical-exercises/) he floats the following claim:
Stated Premise: DOJ regulations prevent Mueller from making public any findings about the subject of an investigation unless those findings lead to criminal indictment of that subject.
He clearly thinks this is *super* important: it’s “one of the things we’re going to have to think about in the coming weeks and months.” Why does he care about this so much? Well, add to that claim another one that has, at this point, has become the orthodoxy in the media and most laypeople following the case:
Hidden Premise: DOJ regulations prevent a sitting President from being indicted for any criminal wrongdoing.
And, whatdoyaknow, it follows from our two premises that:
Hidden Conclusion: Under DOJ regulations, Mueller must not release any information to the public about the results of his inquiry into the President.
My suspicion is that this move, or something like it, will be McCarthy’s new angle in coming weeks and months, no doubt defended ad nauseum in a series of four-thousand abominable columns at National Review. It’s precisely the sort of intellectual cover Whitaker, Barr, McCarthy himself, or whoever the hell else ends up in the AG position needs to either justify suppressing Mueller’s public report and/or ordering the redaction of all Trump-related information contained in public court filings.
Thanks for making me laugh!
Only 2 SCO sections. Third section seems to be the third, separate investigation.
Don’t forget about Flynn’s Inauguration day celebratory phone call about everybody getting rich from the Russi-Saudi nuclear plant deal.
Slightly off topic, but guess who turns 60 in a few short hours (12/5/1958) ? Happy Birthday Michael!
Agreed that Investigation A leans towards the Turkish saga, and Investigation C is counterintelligence, since they didn’t redact “criminal” in the other two, and counterintel stuff is only going to be described in the barest terms in that kind of document.
The one thing it lays down is the amount of cooperation needed to get the low end of a 0-6 month plea.
” It does make it clear that Flynn reported false information to them about his conversation with Sergei Kislyak, which means what really went on between him and Kislyak goes beyond what appeared in emails involving KT McFarland, which is pretty damning by itself. That also suggests he really may have lied to Mike Pence.” (Emphasis added for this comment.)
Does that suggest that Pence was out of the loop as to the campaign’s dealing with the Russians?
A wild guess for me is that Trump has never really trusted Pence and suspects he’d sell him out if given the chance. If so, he’s probably not wrong.
Manafort chose Pence which would be weird if Manafort was under the direction/influence of Deripaska/Oligarchs.
The puzzle for me with Pence is that he came from Manafort. Why did Manafort put him forward to Trump?
It might be as humdrum as “Manafort might be up to his wig in international crime shit but he’s enough of a Republican operative to know that Chris Christie was not as saleable to the godbotherer base as dumbfuck megachurch-Ken-doll Pence.”
Also, Pence was one of the few Republicans who was actually as toxic as Trump and so had nothing to lose by hitching his wagon to the presumed loser. Pence got run out of Indiana, literally declined to run for re-election because he would get creamed, due to homophobic legislative initiatives that royally pissed of the country club Republican wing of the Indiana GOP. There weren’t many people who would even consider signing up to the ticket so it was down to Christie or Pence and Manafort may be an idiot but he’s not stupid.
So unfortunately, no, we’ll be stuck with President Pence.
It’s easy to forget that in his role as Campaign Manager at some point, in between trying to make whole with Russians, illegally obtain dirt about Hilary and conduct himself in as sleazy a way as humanly possible, Manafort *might* have had some genuine insight in how to sell Trump to the Republican party as a whole.
Of course, in this particular case Occam’s razor suggests that corruption is the more likely explanation!
It’s worth adding that Manafort may have been a sad sack by 2016, but he had decades of experience as one of the best political operatives out there. He was not some dopey wannabe like Scaramucci — he knew the levers of power and how to push them. He could see how Trump would get crushed without a VP nominee who could bridge the gap between the big money side of the GOP and the holy rollers. Pence was both shameless and boxed up, and you never had worry about him wandering off whatever message you put in front of him.
That doesn’t make it impossible he’s caught up in Trump’s dirt, but it does make it plausible he was chosen for boring reasons.
After being picked, Pence essentially ran his own parallel campaign, setting his own schedule with RNC assistance and going to places that King Idiot didn’t, meeting with the local GOP establishment, etc. This was noted at the time — and rationalised as a way to impress the party while limiting the stank of defeat — and probably kept him separately busy until the election.
As I’ve said before, Pence comes across as someone who knows the exact boundaries of the things he ought not to know. But that’s not a crime.
Yes. I think all the consternation and hyperventilating about Pence is a bit daff. If Mueller was working Pence, we would have heard about it methinks. Right now, Pence is a sideshow.
“dumbfuck megachurch-Ken-doll Pence”
One of the greatest phrases ever.
it is indeed an elegant turn of a phrase, n’est-ce pas?
I know Marcy said that Pence isn’t implicated, and damn she’s right like 99.9% of the time, but Pence did know about the Turkey connection, via Cummings, and yet he still endorsed Flynn for National Security Advisor. That may not be enough to ensnare him, but I don’t think he’s Mr. Innocent either.
psuedonymous in nc –
i think that is a very reasonable guess. crackpot christian evangelicals and catholics were the trump campaign’s rock of ages. pence would have been accepted as one of their subculture who could speak in it’s idiom – and did.
So what are the other two sections that would fall under Mueller and not be about interactions between campaign officials and Russians? Obstruction is probably one of them (pardon dangle) but I can’t think of an obvious 3rd part that Flynn would be in on unless the interactions with Russians part is split between the subsection about that time on the transition team and a subsection about the more serious interactions.
I think that third part has to be the counterintelligence investigation, which goes beyond just the campaign stuff. That would explain both why it is relatively short (it doesn’t go towards criminal charges and would only be an overview to the court) and heavily redacted.
Whew. Now I can sleep tonight. With Flynn you’ve got them all. Love the part detailing how in the loop Flynn was with senior members. Theumpeteers on Twitter were saying that Flynn wouldn’t really flip on 45, extolling his patriotism, wonder if they will still love him tomorrow. It’s getting harder and harder for trolls. Good night, ew, sweet dreams.
Trump knows what Flynn knows. If Mueller now knows what Flynn knows… then Trump knows some of what Mueller knows.
Waiting for Trump’s response on this one as it may shed more light on Trump’s witness tampering with Manafort (and Stone). Will he say Flynn has no guts?
I think there is still a lot of “I don’t know what I don’t know” as far as Trump and his remaining minions. It has to be driving him crazy-er.
Makes me wonder why the SCO waited until the end of the day to release it? Was it possibly to trigger a late-night Twitter rant? One that would help cement his fate even more?
May have been out of respect for the ongoing Bush services. Kept it out of the news till later though it did get mentions all day.
I thought Brandon Van Grack left the SCO in October to return to the National Security Division of the Justice Department. Apparently not.
Well, maybe, if it’s tying up loose ends. Van Grack and Ahmad both have a nat-sec background and there’s the hint that Flynn got himself into deep enough natsec shit outside the official remit of the campaign that the natsec shit he got himself into as part of the campaign and then DirNSA was almost a kind of bail-out.
That report said he’d tie up loose ends on Flynn.
Is there any chance that at least one of the other investigations could be related to the breaking news out of SDNY about the arrests of 4 people associated with Mossack Fonseca? You know, the Panamanian law firm that helped set up sham accounts to launder money for Trump’s Panama property, among other things?
They mention a “client 1” in that who MF helped avoid paying U.S. taxes.
Here’s the SDNY press release:
Regardless of the SCO recommendation for leniency, the judge should consider this very carefully. Flynn conspired against his own government and punishment is warranted, even for a retired three star, and his military pension should be forfeit. Flynn needs to see the inside of a jail cell, if only briefly, for his callous and degrading comments regarding the Secretary of State at the Trump rally, gleefully encouraging the crowd chants to “lock her up”.
Once all this is over, an impartial Secretary of Defense would convene an appropriate authority to bust Flynn in rank and then dishonorably discharge him – “2nd Lt Michael Flynn (ret.)” has a nice ring to it.
If Flynn has sufficient evidence, and can confirm evidence given by others, to demonstrate that the president and/or his government and campaign aides committed indictable crimes, and gave up that information early and fully, he deserves a pass.
Mueller’s filing claims that was so, and that Flynn’s cooperation persuaded other important witnesses with first hand information to come forward. Flynn, like Manafort, could have resisted giving up the time of day. He didn’t. Assuming crimes exist, those other witnesses are necessary to ensure impeachment or prosecution for them.
Compare the situation with Scooter Libby. He chose to protect his patron(s) and obstructed justice in the process. He kept his and their crimes from the public and from being indicted and punished. He deserved the prison time that George W. Bush’s commutation precluded.
It is worthwhile, however, to take note of how much really execrable behavior–by a person in a position of extreme trust and responsibility– is essentially being forgiven.
Uh, how do you think this cooperation thing works?? This happens every day in every court in the country.
Mike Whitaker sitting, taking notes of redacted sections for Rudy G.
With Rudy G linking to G20.
trump mouthpiece rudy g. posts a “trump and treason” message on twitter:
I’m seeing some potential Pence liability here. “Several senior members of the transition team repeated Flynn’s lies to the American public.”
No. Pence isn’t going down
Not disagreeing, but how do you know that? Pence was head of the transition team; unless that was strictly a title and nothing more I would think he HAD to know about some of this.
I’m curious what Young Flynn makes of all this. He’s such a fine, sympathetic character in this drama.
M. Flynn Jr was still promoting the illegal unmasking narrative a day or so ago.
Was Trump dangling pardons to Flynn? If so, game over. In more ways than one.
Mueller is also sending a message to all of the other Trump minions: “You don’t necessarily have to rely on Trump granting you a pardon to keep you from spending the rest of your life behind bars if you cooperate early and fully with the SCO.” Brilliant.
I wonder if Mueller was addressing Trump’s ‘fake news’ claims by citing to the WaPost article as the fact asserted, Face the Nation segment with Team Trump as the concerted effort denial, and the final Hill Op-Ed by the individual who was actually lying–denying the claim.
OT: I thought EW might appreciate this, a FiveThirtyEight piece uses “ratfucking” as a term of art with nary a hint of reticence or explanation for the lay reader (paragraph 5). Your campaign is yielding dividends!
The last section of the addendum has another tantalizing tidbit to it, and perhaps a Timeline Wizard can tease out what it might suggest:
This final paragraph of the addendum then ends with a redaction of what appears a single sentence, just over two lines long. My WAG would be that it is an example of someone else’s later cooperation that came from Flynn’s information.
I’m really curious about those “related firsthand witnesses.” The term “cooperate” in this context could be either (1) people like Flynn who had charges waved in front of them and decided to plead guilty and enter into formal cooperation agreements instead of fighting and stonewalling, or (2) people who, when confronted with Flynn’s information (and likely some kind of corroborating evidence – emails, phone records, etc.) but not immediately implicated in any criminal conduct of their own, decided to “be forthcoming” and answer the questions put to them by the SCO.
Hmmm . . . (2) sounds a lot like it could fit someone like Don McGahn, and perhaps also someone like Mike Pence. McGahn is gone from the White House, but Pence and others who might fit this second less-formal meaning of cooperating are still around. Trump could drive himself nuts if he thinks that those two redacted lines hide the names of spies in his White House. And if he stares at those two black lines long enough and decides that Pence is one of the turncoats, he’ll really go nuts because Pence is the one guy he can’t actually fire. Trump can certainly make Pence’s life miserable, but he can’t fire his Vice President.
Where does Sessions fit into all of this? He was having chummy chats with Kislyak and was with Trump from the beginning. Also, Peter Smith mentioned contacts with Kellyanne Conway (along with Flynn).
And yes, Marcy mentioned KT McFarland in this context in the main post, but note that Mueller’s language is in the plural: “related firsthand witnesses”.
I think it increasingly likely that Erik Prince flipped after being caught in his HPSCI lies. He’d be downstream from Flynn on the Seychelles meeting.
I hope he doesn’t get the “substantial assistance” pass. The man is just a blood for money mercenary, not in the service of the country.
Couldn’t agree more.
EW, is the amount of this memo that’s redacted more than you would have expected, or about in line?
I’m kind of looking forward to the “Mueller hasn’t found anything substantive about Russia” crowd saying, “See? There’s nothing there, just a bunch of black bars!”
As @nycsouthpaw just tweeted, per EW’s post, the A-B-C of it is the notable thing: “To what does the Mueller investigation take second billing?” A different branch of DOJ got a lot out of Flynn for a separate criminal investigation without having to reveal itself.
Is the assumption that A-B-C is a cardinal ranking of the subject matters necessarily the way to interpret this?
Might it not be an ordering by date of some significant event pertaining to each investigation eg
A= perhaps the “Gulen Kidnap Plot” which commenced pre-election, with respect to Flynn’s involvement as a subject and witness
B= Mueller investigation, but with focus on transition and aftermath with respect to Flynn’s involvement as a subject and witness
C=other investigation : listed 3rd because Flynn’s involvement is (hypothesised for this example) as a cooperator and witness
I can’t help but think that the redacted sections are not just tantalizing, but strategic. If we find them interesting and worthy of speculation, imagine how much the people on the other side of the investigation must be freaking out just about now.
I think the name being overlooked is Jared Kushner. He was involved with the calls to Kislyak and other questions entreaties, so he could be sweating bullets, especially as it relates to counterintelligence
Am I wrong in believing Trump knows EXACTLY the information covered by the redactions, because his flunky Matt Whitaker has seen unredacted versions of this filing?
Something else that came up in the late-night discussion is the Peter Smith operation and whatever connection Flynn had to it.
i really doubt he did. Smith was listing a ton of people he really hadn’t roped in, starting with Matt Tait.
I can’t read the rest (paywall), but here’s the headline:
Late GOP Activist Peter W. Smith Met With Former Trump Adviser Michael Flynn in 2015
“He rocks in the tree tops all day long
Hoppin’ and a-boppin’ and singing his song
All the little birdies on Jaybird Street
Love to hear the robin go tweet tweet tweet”
Where are the rage tweets?
“Cock” Robin musta popped a xanny with his diet coke!
This post is tagged “Reza Zarrab” — he’s close to Erdoğan and was arrested in 2016 in Miami, but even stranger is he’s represented by Rudy Giuliani…..
Any chance that third redacted investigation could be related to the whole Clinton email saga? I know it sounds nuts, but what if Flynn got trump to cooperate and this whole thing has been a counterintelligence investigation to protect sources and methods, minimize natsec damage from her server, and catch people who are guilty of cooperating and providing the Russians with help?
I mean, I know it’s implausible, but all those sealed filings that people are wondering about- what if it is related to the Clinton server?
Now that would be a real bombshell. But I think I’m starting to sound like a crazy conspiracy theorist so uh, I guess we will have to wait and see.
No, this is silly.
This sounds like some part of a “Q” theory.
If i were a gambling man, would bet a lot of money that a hugely underestimated and hugely under-investigated (by media) component of this story involves Ar*f, Tam*nce, S!ter which Flynn would likely be a good source of intel for given his Turkish connections (i imagine Baku / Agalrov, Tbilisi, Batumi are a pretty close puzzle piece away).
Since there are so many actors in the stage play, I wonder if the criminal investigation is related to obstruction of justice charges. One of the cooperators affected by Flynn’s early and substantial cooperation is probably McGahn. His cooperation is important to the successful prosecution of obstruction charges, since he was essential, as per his version of heroic interventions, in preventing the Presindebt from involving the entire executive branch in his criminal cover up. Also, too, his cooperation might ensure his continuing prominence practicing law successfully on the big stage. It would be a shame for him personally to lose the advantage Republicans and Federalists gained by choosing so many of the referees seeded to the Federal Judiciary.
I had completely forgotten about this:
So after Obama left, how many docs was Kushner copying for MbS or Bibi?
This is sneaky:
Senators Working to Slip Israel Anti-Boycott Law Through in Lame Duck
Flynn the flipper gave up the goods early. Notice how Herr Drumpf has not text about Flynn. Does he know what Flynn knows? Collusion, Obstruction, Corruption … maniacal administration being exposed … so more to be revealed.
I can say with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY that the OSC does NOT redact using a Sharpie.
At least I don’t think they do.
(Long time reader, first time commenter)
Does anyone else think that last redaction on page 1 of the addendum, detailing the assistance Flynn provided, is about acting as an agent–i.e., wearing a wire?
I had posed this question below, but now see that you got there first.
So yes, at least one more person wonders that!
On the heels of a bank raid and Mueller.
You legal eagles out there – if one pleads guilty, but serves no time, isn’t that still a permanent criminal offense on one’s record? Of course Wingnut Welfare will take care of such sad sacks, but still, I think of the smaller fish caught up in this – Will they wear the scarlet letter until another Rethug president pardons them?
Conviction and sentence are two different things. Short of winning an acquittal on appeal, the conviction stands. Even a presidential pardon does not negate the crime, only the sentence. In fact, accepting the pardon is an admission of it.
As far as reputations, being someone who served the country, did wrong, but then cooperated extensively with the country/Feds is a lot better than did wrong, and then got a pardon from a crook.
Is no one concerned about the role Flynn is playing here? I assume what he has told the SCO has checked out (at least I hope so). But what is he not telling? Given that he flipped early, and is providing a lot of info, it seems the narrative the SCO is constructing has been, at least in part, shaped and influenced by Flynn. Given his background and character, that to me is worrisome. Flynn put himself in this position knowing his conversations with Kislyak were being recorded. Two weeks after Sally Yates confirms that he has been recorded, more than enough time to build a story, get rid of evidence, etc., Trump sets him up for the SCO.
Whatever happened to the Ukraine-Russia “peace plan” proposal that Cohen and Sater (iIrc) said they placed on Flynn’s desk? And I wonder about Flynn’s suddenly going over to the dark side upon joined Trumpco. Does someone’s core character just deteriorate or suddenly flip as soon as one is dunked in a cesspool? I wonder if Flynn really had the bright shiny military career everyone touts? Are there dark undercurrents that will be exposed as time goes by?
I think you’re right. Section 8 of Flynn’s plea agreement requires him to cooperate with ‘covert law enforcement activities.’ Those can likely include concealed wires or recorded telephone conversations.
Replying to Three’s comment(reply link would not work):
(Long time reader, first time commenter)
Does anyone else think that last redaction on page 1 of the addendum, detailing the assistance Flynn provided, is about acting as an agent–i.e., wearing a wire?
Could the mystery case be Maria Butina? Feels like they split the Mueller investigation into two cases which both lead to the same players so that it would be harder to shutdown.
I’m intrigued by the blackout after “participated in 19 interviews […], provided documents and communications, [redaction of roughly 30 characters].”
The series of items here is generic, so parallelism suggests there was no topic or detail as part of the third phrase. That it was just another generic action. What generic action might he have taken part in that needed to be redacted out?
Could it be something like “and wore a wire”?
We wonder what Flynn and Cohen told Mueller. I wonder what Mueller might have told them that dropped the scales from their eyes. Like just what sort of vast conspiracy they were unwitting parts of…
washington post columnist jenifer rubin joins in playing blind man’s bluff with several guesses about the flynn third-cooperation matter:
According to the New York Times, the first investigation is the Turkish lobbying effort.
Here’s the link:
Aside, sort of:
Alfa Bank sale?
Wendy Siegelman @WendySiegelman