“In truth, I never lied;” Mike Flynn’s Materially Conflicting Sworn Statements

Amid the discussions of what may happen in the DC Circuit’s review of Mike Flynn’s petition for a writ of mandamus, Judge Emmet Sullivan’s instruction to amicus John Gleeson to review whether Flynn should be held in criminal contempt for perjury has been lost. Indeed, the DC Circuit did not include that part of Sullivan’s order in its order to Sullivan to address Flynn’s petition; it addressed only the question of whether Sullivan must grant the government’s motion to dismiss.

Because few people understand the full scope of Flynn’s conflicting sworn statements — not just before Sullivan but also before the grand jury — I’m reposting and elaborating on that list.

  • December 1, 2017: Mike Flynn pled guilty before Judge Rudolph Contreras to lying in a January 24, 2017 FBI interview. In his plea allocution, Flynn admitted:
    • He lied about several conversations with Sergey Kislyak about sanctions
    • He lied about several conversations with Kislyak about an attempt to undermine an Obama effort at the UN
    • He lied about whether his company knew that it was working for the government of Turkey and about whether senior officials from Turkey were overseeing that contract
    • He was satisfied with the services his attorneys had provided
    • No other threats or promises were made to him except what was in the plea agreement
  • December 18, 2018: Mike Flynn reallocuted his guilty plea before Judge Emmet Sullivan to lying in a January 24, 2017 FBI interview. In his plea allocution, Flynn admitted:
    • He lied about several conversations with Sergey Kislyak about sanctions
    • He lied about several conversations with Kislyak about an attempt to undermine an Obama effort at the UN
    • He lied about whether his company knew that it was working for the government of Turkey and about whether senior officials from Turkey were overseeing that contract
    • He was satisfied with the services his attorneys had provided
    • He did not want a Curcio counsel appointed to give him a second opinion on pleading guilty
    • He did not want to challenge the circumstances of his January 24, 2017 interview and understood by pleading guilty he was giving up his right to do so permanently
    • He did not want to withdraw his plea having learned that Peter Strzok and others were investigated for misconduct
    • During his interview with the FBI, he was aware that lying to the FBI was a federal crime
  • June 26, 2018: Mike Flynn testified to an EDVA grand jury, among other things, that:
    • “From the beginning,” his 2016 consulting project “was always on behalf of elements within the Turkish government,”
    • He and Bijan Kian would “always talk about Gulen as sort of a sharp point” in relations between Turkey and the US as part of the project (though there was some discussion about business climate)
    • “For the most part” “all of that work product [was] about Gulen”
    • When asked if he knew of any work product that didn’t relate to Gulen, Flynn answered, “I don’t think there was anything that we had done that had anything to do with, you know, anything else like business climates or stuff like that”
    • He was not aware of “any work done on researching the state of the business climate in Turkey”
    • He was not aware of “any meetings held with U.S. businesses or business associations”
    • He was not aware of “any work done regarding business opportunities and investment in Turkey”
    • He and his partner “didn’t have any conversations about” a November 8, 2016 op-ed published under his name until “Bijan [] sent me a draft of it a couple of days prior, maybe about a week prior”
  • January 29, 2020: Mike Flynn submitted a sworn declaration. Among the assertions he made were:
    • “On December 1, 2017 (reiterated on December 18, 2018), I pled guilty to lying to agents of the FBI. I am innocent of this crime.”
    • “I gave [Covington] the information they requested and answered their questions truthfully.”
    • “I still don’t remember if I discussed sanctions on a phone call with Ambassador Kislyak nor do I remember if we discussed the details of a UN vote on Israel.”
    • “My relationship with Covington disintegrated soon thereafter.” [After second proffer session.]
    • “I did not believe I had lied in my White House interview with the FBI agents.”
    • “In the preceding months leading up to this moment [when he agreed to the plea deal], I had read articles and heard rumors that the agents did not believe that I had lied.”
    • “It was well after I pled guilty on December 1, 2017, that I heard or read that the agents had stated that they did not believe that I had lied during the January 24, 2017, White House interview.”
    • “I agreed to plead guilty that next day, December 1, 2017, because of the intense pressure from the Special Counsel’s Office, which included a threat to indict my son, Michael, and the lack of crucial information from my counsel.”
    • “My former lawyers from Covington also assured me on November 30, 2017, that if I accepted the plea, my son Michael would be left in peace.”
    • “Regretfully I followed my lawyers’ strong advice to confirm my plea even though it was all I could do to not cry out ‘no’ when this Court asked me if I was guilty.”
    • “In truth, I never lied.”

Three comments about this. First, Flynn has suggested — and his supporters have focused on — that prosecutors promised that Jr wouldn’t be prosecuted. Flynn’s declaration actually stops short of saying prosecutors made this promise.

Second, note that Flynn’s sworn statement conflicts with statements he made to the FBI after his January 24, 2017 interview. For example, his claim not to remember his calls with Kislyak conflicts with 302s cited in the Mueller Report that describe what went on in the calls (though the report cites heavily, though not exclusively, to the one from November 17, 2017, which is the one in which Flynn claims he just repeated what Covington told him to say).

Finally, while Flynn didn’t back off his admission he lied in his FARA filing specifically in his declaration, he does claim that he answered Covington’s answers about his work for Turkey truthfully. In notes that Flynn himself already made public, however, it’s clear he did not, for example where he told his attorneys that the op-ed he published on election day was done for the campaign’s benefit, not Turkey’s.

And his attorneys made much of the fact that he claimed the project started off as being about business climate, which conflicts with his claim that the project was always about Gulen.

DOJ has 600 more pages from Covington (500 pages of evidence and 100 pages of declarations from its lawyers) disputing the claims Flynn has made about him. The timing of DOJ’s motion to dismiss strongly suggests Flynn’s boosters knew they had to act before that Covington material became public. But even without that, Flynn has already provided evidence that Flynn lies to his attorneys resulted in a false FARA filing.

I have no idea whether this will even play into filings at DC Circuit. But unless DC Circuit moves Flynn’s case to another judge (and possibly even then), the case for perjury is still out there in multiple sworn filings.

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48 replies
  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Nicely done and nicely framed. Mikey starts off with a lie:

    “On December 1, 2017 (reiterated on December 18, 2018), I pled guilty to lying to agents of the FBI. I am innocent of this crime.”

    The reduced risk to his son he gets at only indirectly. He sandwiches it between his alleged perception of pressure by the FBI,

    “I agreed to plead guilty that next day, December 1, 2017, because of the intense pressure from the Special Counsel’s Office, which included a threat to indict my son, Michael,”

    And advice from his lawyers:

    “My former lawyers from Covington also assured me on November 30, 2017, that if I accepted the plea, my son Michael would be left in peace.”

    Flynn never says what the FBI actually did. He ends with another lie, this one for the Don:

    “Regretfully I followed my lawyers’ strong advice to confirm my plea even though it was all I could do to not cry out ‘no’ when this Court asked me if I was guilty.”

    “In truth, I never lied.”

    So, Mikey’s claim to fame is that he lies under pressure because it’s the easy way to go. Courage under fire. Be best.

    • TJ says:

      You are absolutely correct. But is it possible He was doing everything to just end it.

      If someone told me I needed to lie or my daughter would be executed. Clearly I would lie. Absent of an alternative out for him what was he supposed to do.

      I am not a Flynn or trump fan. I am a Cali Democrat. I am not condoning his lies, but I can understand it.

      • timbo says:

        Which lies of his do you understand? Believing what is the truth here is the problem. People who lie all the time to protect themselves and get away with it all the time are not necessarily telling you the truth today.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        We’re not talking about a middle American neighbor, whose familiarity with power, politics, and the law is whatever makes it into the local newspaper or awkward family holiday meal.

        We’re talking about a three-star general, who rose to fame as a staff intelligence officer, and who ran the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency. He competed against and networked with senior generals, politicians, and intelligence staffers at home and abroad, He hobnobbed with foreign heads of state and worked for at least one of them. He ran a consulting firm Consulting Central – inside DC’s Beltway. He worked his way into a presidential campaign, was nominated and for a risible length of time was the National Security Director for the United States Government.

        Mike Flynn knew the law, power, and politics at every relevant step in this scandal. He knew how and where he earned his money, and what his own president told him to do. He got caught juggling too many balls. He lied and exposed the president who would have expected him to lie. If his son was involved in the work and lies that exposed Flynn and the president, he did it voluntarily. For the money or to be like dad, who knows, but he did it.

        It’s obvious from the public record that EW has laid out that Mike Flynn lies for a living. I don’t doubt that he has feelings for his son, or that he wanted both of them to avoid responsibility for their conduct. But claiming that his motivation to lie was to save his son from the mean old FBI looks like the most saleable defense – and another lie.

        • emptywheel says:

          Adding: nowhere in any of the public record is there a hint that Covington and Flynn didn’t recognize Jr was at risk. He was involved in a lot of the paperwork filed (and also in the loop on Dad’s trip to Russia). It’s one thing to plead to protect someone you believe to be innocent. There’s no evidence Flynn thought his son was innocent.

          • bmaz says:

            And let us be crystal clear, if you are Flynn and competent counsel there is no way in hell you want Jr. named in any document as being declined. The fact of no reference on the record is, in and of itself, a bargaining point, and a pretty important one.

          • Peacerme says:

            If it’s okay to kidnap Mexican babies because their parents knew the dangers of running from violence to American border, you sure as hell better hold Flynn Sr responsible for putting his son at risk. (And son is an adult). Please.

      • emptywheel says:

        Do you still say that when you factor in 1) his lies served to hide that he had consulted with Mar-A-Lago on this and then 2) created a cover email that would hide that he had spoken about sanctions?

        He started covering this up immediately, not in November 2017.

      • Vicks says:

        I’m lost.
        If Flynn felt that there was evidence that his kid did something bad enough he needed to sign this plea deal to protect him prosecution, once Flynn violated the deal, what would stop them from going after Jr.?
        Same with any crimes Mueller may have taken off the table to get Flynn to cooperate.l

      • Fenix says:

        First off I’ll admit I’m a novice on this board & generally keep my mouth shut to avoid being seen as such but I feel I must counter TJ’s statement.

        I believe you’re attributing too many underlying feelings of parental protectiveness to Flynn. Every parent wants to protect their children but any parent who truly cares for & has an interest in protecting their child would discourage that child from getting involved in the first place. Flynn is/was a decorated General & staff intelligence officer, no way he doesn’t recognize the dangers of the lying games & “consulting” work he got himself involved in. Cross the wrong people & a court case would be a far more welcome outcome than the violent punishment that may otherwise befall him &/or his family. At least that’s my view.

        • TJ says:

          I appreciate the replies. The truth is my knowledge of this whole thing is limited to mostly what I see on TV of headlines I read. It is also why I really appreciate the articles and responses here. I want to have a better understanding than my limited initial
          Thoughts. Thanks you all.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Regarding moving Flynn’s case to another judge, that requires clearing a high hurdle. I don’t doubt that Rao could do it in a single bound, but the DCC in Fokker dismissed the idea. It declined to do it, even though the trial court had very clear views on why the DPA at issue was unacceptable.

  3. civil says:

    On 11/30/17, Flynn also signed the Statement of the Offense — https://www.justice.gov/file/1015126/download — under penalty of perjury: “I have read every word of this Statement of the Offense, or have had it read to me. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11, after consulting with my attorneys, I agree and stipulate to this Statement of the Offense, and declare under penalty of perjury that it is true and correct.”

    • civil says:

      I should have added that this means that he’s also stated under penalty of perjury that things such as the following are true:
      “c. On or about December 29, 2016, FLYNN called a senior official of the Presidential Transition Team official, who was with other senior members of the Presidential Transition Team at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, to discuss what, if anything, to communicate to the Russian Ambassador about the US. Sanctions. On that call, FLYNN and the PTT official discussed the U.S. Sanctions, including the potential impact of those sanctions on the incoming administration’s foreign policy goals. The PTT official and FLYNN also discussed that the members of the Presidential Transition Team at Mar-a-Lago did not want Russia to escalate the situation. …
      “h. After his phone call with the Russian Ambassador, FLYNN spoke with senior members of the Presidential Transition Team about FLYNN’s conversations with the Russian Ambassador regarding the U.S. Sanctions and Russia’s decision not to escalate the situation.”

      Paragraph (c) contradicts statements in his 302 that “FLYNN noted he was not aware of the then-upcoming actions,” “FLYNN did not know about the Persona Non-Grata (PNG) action until it was in the media,” “he did not know the expulsions were coming.” Unless I missed it, it’s notable that his January declaration did not address his phone conversations with “senior members of the Presidential Transition Team.”

      His declaration also says “I believe my resignation letter stated quite accurately what happened.” His resignation letter says “I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador.” As noted in part by Ms. Wheeler in the column, his declaration further says “I still don’t remember if I discussed sanctions on a phone call with Ambassador Kislyak nor do I remember if we discussed the details of a UN vote on Israel. … The phone calls with Kislyak are still events of which I do not have a clear memory and it related to a general category of information (phone calls about foreign policy) that are both sensitive and classified. … The calls with Ambassador Kislyak were brief and few…” So if he doesn’t have a clear memory, how is he certain that his resignation letter “stated quite accurately” that he “briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador.” “Incomplete” means that something was omitted — what is he certain that he omitted?

      • civil says:

        Oops, that should have been “I believe my resignation letter to President Trump stated quite accurately what happened.” I didn’t catch this while I could edit the above.

        • civil says:

          Thanks, and yes, I did see that column and had posted a question there. Since he stipulated to paragraph (c) in the Statement of the Offense, what’s puzzling me is why they didn’t note as part of the False Statements that Flynn had denied knowing about the “then-upcoming actions.” It strikes me as a material lie, as it helped to hide that he conferred with the transition team before talking with Kislyak. It’s also relevant re: Flynn ostensibly being fired for lying to Pence, as it means that either (1) multiple transition team members kept Pence out of the loop, or (2) Pence knew, and Flynn was fired on pretext of lying, and Pence and Trump have been lying about that being part of Flynn’s firing. (And of course I wouldn’t be surprised about either of them lying, but I’m curious about what the true story is of who knew what.)

  4. AndTheSlithyToves says:

    “In Truth, I Never Lied | An Ode to Disinformation” by Michael T. Flynn, Poet Non-laureate of the Trump Maladministration.
    Cue Punaise and Savage Librarian.

    • John Lehman says:

      Apologies to Lewis Carroll…”Trumpty Dumpty sat on a wall…(y’all can fill in the rest)…Flynn’s part would be one of the “King’s horses” or one of the “King’s men”. This all implies a mystic justice that a student of history might observe.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Pied

      With positively no gray hair dyed,
      And top to bottom bonafide,
      As I’ve fully testified:
      “In Truth, I Never Lied.”

      If you check it with our guide,
      Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde,
      And imbibe our full bromide:
      “In Truth, I Never Lied.”

      Inside-outy our broadside,
      If and only when applied,
      Squint a little bit cockeyed:
      “In Truth, I Never Lied.”

      But if you face the true divide
      between “in truth” & “I never lied,”
      you’ll see what really is implied
      “In Truth, I Never Lied.”

      The phrase is parsed & it’s pied
      to misdirect and misguide,
      Of course “In Truth” will override:
      It means the same as, “I Never Lied.”

      A trick of logic magnified
      by what seems to be pushed aside,
      but it’s just another fools’ joyride,
      “In Truth, I Never Lied.”

      In all the years that I have spied
      for a foreign or domestic side,
      I learned how to stay outside:
      “In Truth, I Never Lied.”

      So, if you want what’s certified,
      rinse it with some peroxide,
      Who will take it all in stride:
      “In Lies, I Always Lied?”

  5. Das Robot says:

    I have no doubt that in Covington depositions and interviews with the Feds re what he will testify about he anchored all his lies with oodles of statements that confirm everything and more. Let’s see that action! I see no reason why they wouldn’t if the FBIs deliberations are fair game.

  6. Peterr says:

    DOJ has 600 more pages from Covington (500 pages of evidence and 100 pages of declarations from its lawyers) disputing the claims Flynn has made about him. The timing of DOJ’s motion to dismiss strongly suggests Flynn’s boosters knew they had to act before that Covington material became public.

    This.

    Better to throw up a hail Mary and try a longshot petition to force Sullivan to end the case than to let this come out right now as the election is heating up and while Trump’s reaction to COVID-19 is sending Trump into orbit about his falling ratings and poll numbers. The election is what matters, and this whole procedure could push the whole thing past November rather easily. If Flynn and Barr lose, then they’ll push it to an en banc hearing before the full Circuit Court of Appeals, knowing that will take another couple of weeks. If they lose that (or if the Circuit declines to hear the case), it’s off to SCOTUS, which will take another couple of weeks of filings and replies. We’re fast approaching June right now, and SCOTUS is loathe to take up stuff (other than death penalty appeals) this late in the term. If they take the case, they’d likely hear arguments in October, meaning any final judgment would conceivably be pushed to after the election.

    “Works for me,” says Bill Barr.

    • emptywheel says:

      That’s true but DC Circuit was silent about the appointment of the amicus, and silent about the perjury side of things. If they rule there’s no basis for writ there, Sullivan may be in a position to ask for that Covington paperwork.

  7. Kim Kaufman says:

    I think I read Covington just filed something. Will that have any bearing on all this?

    • jdmckay says:

      Twists ‘n turns. Wilkinson has impressive record, hope she can match Powell’s chutz’pah!!!

      Would be nice to think this would be decided on facts as Marcy has so ably layed out. But seems to me if that is the way thing worked, DC would not have heard this Mandemus & Flynn would already be in jail. I read the 1st 3 pages Google coughed up on “legal opinion” for this Mandamus filing and 80%+ ignored rule 48 and cited United States v. Fokker Services as settled law in favor of forcing Sullivan to do nothing but dismiss.

      Hard to believe.

      • timbo says:

        It’s looking more and more like it’s going to be hard to get Sullivan to dismiss this without a full explanation in Federal Court as to specifically what happened in this case from 2017 to now on the Federal prosecutor side.

        I’m hopeful now that he appears to be taking some concerted action to counter Flynn and the Trump gang’s moves here. Hopefully the rot isn’t so great that the actual ability to root out hostile foreign spies from our national security apparatus isn’t fully gutted. It seems these gangsters want to create a world of “our guys, our spies” that is completely separate from the best interests of the average person on the street.

  8. Chetnolian says:

    Wow that’s clever! Hiring a lawyer who advised Brett Kavanaugh during his nomination.

    That kinda spoils any bias accusations.

    Judge Sullivan is not giving up without a serious fight.

  9. Desider says:

    Mike Flynn Jr worked closely with his Dad, including joint trips to Moscow, etc.
    Mueller going after Flynn’s son isn’t like digging thru family tax records looking for any unintentional flaw – it’s addressing a potential/likely co-conspirator. That they would ignore this and go for the guy in charge makes sense if that guy in charge cooperates.
    Be putting the squeeze on a family crime member doesn’t have quite the meanness when you realize they were doing the crimes together.
    Why does this seem to have been lost, so it’s “poor Mike, they threatened him with Mikey Jr” – couldn’t he have left his son out of his corrupt business and skipped a drama meltdown?
    https://www.businessinsider.com/michael-flynn-jr-subject-trump-russia-investigation-2017-9

      • bmaz says:

        Naw. Pleas, and how they are structured, can be quite complicated. That Flynn Jr. was not even mentioned makes perfect sense to me. Kathleen Manafort had huge exposure too. She was never formally mentioned either. There is a reason for that. You do not have to cheer how such things are dealt with behind the scenes to know and understand that they are. And anybody that thinks Flynn, Manafort, Stone, Page and Papadopolous are poster boys for anything, are absurd and ludicrous. Those would also be people that have never done this.

  10. GKJames says:

    “In truth, I admitted I had lied because I didn’t know the agents had believed my lies. We’re good now, right?”

  11. Fred Farklestone says:

    Dec 18, 2018 Sentencing Of Flynn by Judge Emmett Sullivan. The actual sentencing begins at 4:00 minutes in.

    Judge Shocks Court With Harsh Rebuke Of Michael Flynn; Sentencing Delayed | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

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