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Mueller's memo details 2017 interview with Michael Flynn

By
Allen Cone
Michael Flynn, who served as President Donald Trump's national security adviser for 24 days, was interviewed by the FBI on January 26, 2017. He pleaded guilty to lying to the agets. Pool file photo by Andrew Harrer/UPI
Michael Flynn, who served as President Donald Trump's national security adviser for 24 days, was interviewed by the FBI on January 26, 2017. He pleaded guilty to lying to the agets. Pool file photo by Andrew Harrer/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 17 (UPI) -- On the eve of Michael Flynn's sentencing, special counsel Robert Mueller on Monday released a memo describing an FBI interview in which President Donald Trump's former national security adviser repeatedly lied.

Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced at 11 a.m. Tuesday in a courtroom in the District of Columbia. The memo released to the public Monday night was heavily redacted.

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Two weeks ago, Mueller recommended no prison time for Flynn because of "substantial assistance" in the Russia investigation, including possible collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump's 2016 campaign. He has meet with Mueller's team and other Department of Justice members 19 times.

Mueller has offered up to one year of probation and to perform 200 hours of community service.

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Last week, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan asked Mueller to submit documents related to the FBI interview after Flynn's defense attorneys suggested in their sentencing memo that the agents had entrapped him in the interview.

One of two agents who interviewed Flynn, Peter Strzok, has since been fired by the Justice Department as a result of text messages critical of Trump that were sent before the 2016 election.

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The memo details Flynn's interview on Jan. 24, 2017, about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Agents repeatedly questioned him on whether he discussed sanctions with Russia during the conversations.

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He repeatedly denied having any discussions and said he was "attempting to start a good relationship with Kislyak and move forward."

Two days later, then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates told White House officials that Flynn had lied to the FBI and Vice President Mike Pence.

Flynn was fired as Trump's national security adviser two weeks later.

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Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents and agreed to cooperate in Mueller's sprawling probe into Russian interference in the election. Flynn also has admitted to lying when he told the FBI he did not ask Kislyak to delay or defeat a vote on a pending U.N. Security Council resolution regarding Israel.

In the memo, FBI agents asked Flynn whether he remembered any interaction with Kislyak "surrounding the expulsion of Russian diplomats or closing of Russian properties in response to Russian hacking activities surrounding the election." Flynn denied it, claiming that he was unaware of the planned sanctions during a call with Kislyak in late December 2016 because he was on vacation with his wife in the Dominican Republic.

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In addition, Flynn said that "it was possible that he talked to Kislyak on the issue, but if he did, he did not remember doing so," according to the memo.

The agents asked Flynn if he discussed the U.N. vote regarding Israeli settlements with Kislyak. He responded "Yes, good reminder."

On Dec. 22, 2016, he said he spoke with officials from several countries, including Israel, the United Kingdom and "possibly Russia" but didn't where they stood on the resolution.

Asked whether he pressured Kislyak to vote one way or another, Flynn replied that he did not and "stated his calls were about asking where countries would stand on a vote, not any requests of, 'hey, if you do this.' "

Last week, his lawyers argued that the circumstances of his FBI interview "warrant the court's consideration as it evaluates the seriousness of the offense."

He didn't have an attorney with him at that time and there was no warning he could be prosecuted for making false statements, the defense memo said.

Mueller accused Flynn of trying to "minimize" the seriousness of his crimes.

"A sitting National Security Advisor, former head of an intelligence agency, retired Lieutenant General, and 33-year veteran of the armed forces knows he should not lie to federal agents," according to Mueller's memo. "He does not need to be warned it is a crime to lie to federal agents to know the importance of telling them the truth."

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