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Special counsel Robert Mueller recommended no prison time for retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, citing the “substantial assistance” he has given in the Russia probe.
“Given the defendant’s substantial assistance and other considerations set forth, a sentence at the low end of the guideline range — including a sentence that does not impose a term of incarceration — is appropriate and warranted,” Mueller wrote in a sentencing memorandum to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
Flynn — President Donald Trump’s first national security advisor — pleaded guilty to one count of lying to federal investigators regarding conversations he had with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition period following the 2016 presidential election.
Mueller’s memo noted The Washington Post had run a story in early January 2017, alleging (based on leaked phone conversations collected from Obama administration’s intelligence agencies) that Flynn’s conversations violated the Logan Act.
The rarely invoked law, enacted during the John Adams administration in 1799, “prohibits U.S. citizens from corresponding with a foreign government with the intent to influence the conduct of that foreign government with disputes with the United States,” the special counsel wrote.
Many former government officials pointed out following The Post story and since that it is the normal course of business for incoming administration officials, such as Flynn, to speak with representatives of foreign governments during the transition period.
FBI agents (including now disgraced former agent Peter Strzok) interviewed Flynn in late January 2017, days after Trump took office, during which Mueller alleges the then-national security advisor made a “series of false statements” about the topics covered in the conversations with Kislyak.
After pleading guilty to one court of lying to federal investigators in December 2017, Flynn agreed to cooperate with the special counsel, and, according to Mueller, has participated in 19 interviews.
The former three-star Army general is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 18, ABC News reported.
Mueller, himself a Marine veteran of the Vietnam War, cited Flynn’s three decades of military service, in addition to his participation with the Russia probe as something the federal court should take into account when sentencing Flynn.
“The defendant’s record of military and public service distinguish him from every other person who has been charged as part the (special counsel’s) investigation,” he wrote.
“However, senior government leaders should be held to the highest standards,” Mueller continued. “The defendant’s extensive government service should have made him particularly aware of the harm caused by providing false information to the government, as well as the rules governing work performed on behalf of a foreign government.”
Fox News host Sean Hannity, who has been very critical of Mueller’s investigation, reacted to the special counsel’s memorandum regarding Flynn shortly after it was released Tuesday night.
“If you believe in this constitutional republic, equal justice under the law, application of our laws, you ought to be very concerned and outraged,” he said on Tuesday night’s “Hannity.” “General Flynn’s entire life has been put in limbo for an entire year for this? I have read the entire report. They even used the Logan Act, which is actually rarely ever used or invoked. But Hillary and the Espionage Act?”
Today Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed a memo recommending a lenient sentence for former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. That was part of tonight’s #Hannity Opening Monologue pic.twitter.com/dJZtle7XPL
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) December 5, 2018
“Flynn lost his house because he couldn’t afford the attorneys,” Hannity added. “He had to sell his house. His life’s work, 33 years of serving his country, washed down the drain for this? Reputation destroyed for this?”
The Fox News personality further pointed out, “And don’t forget, we know that they got through a lot of this information, through what? We knew he was the victim of illegal surveillance, illegal unmasking, illegal leaking of raw intelligence. What about the people involved in those crimes? His rights were violated at every level.”