(CNSNews.com) - Gen. Michael Flynn's offense is "serious," Special Counsel Robert Mueller said in a court filing Tuesday, but no prison time is recommended, because of Flynn's “substantial assistance to the government.”
According to the court filing: “Given the defendant’s substantial assistance and other considerations set forth below, 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.”
A separate Addendum describes Flynn's "assistance to the government," but because the addendum includes "sensitive information about ongoing investigations," much of it was redacted before public release.
The court filing says Flynn made "multiple false statements to multiple Department of Justice entities on multiple occasions."
Some of Flynn's false statements involve his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. just before President Trump took office. At the time, the FBI was investigating "the nature of any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign," the court document says.
Flynn also "made a second series of false statements to the DOJ concerning his contacts with the Republic of Turkey" at a time when Flynn was in a position to influence public policy.
Nevertheless, Mueller noted Flynn's long record of military and public service as mitigating factors. And although his years of public service should have made him aware of the consequences of lying to the government, Mueller concluded:
“The defendant deserves credit for accepting responsibility in a timely fashion and substantially assisting the government. As described in the Addendum, shortly after the (Special Counsel’s Office) reached out to the defendant to seek his cooperation, the defendant accepted responsibility for his unlawful conduct and began cooperating with the government."
The heavily redacted Addendum describes the “significance and usefulness” of Flynn’s assistance to the Mueller probe and the “timeliness” of that assistance.
It says Flynn has assisted with “several” ongoing investigations, including “a criminal investigation (all information about this investigation is redacted); Mueller’s probe into links and coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign; and something else that is completely redacted.
As far as the Trump-Russia probe goes, Flynn “provided firsthand information about the content and context of interactions between the transition team and Russian government officials. For example," the document says, "after the election, the defendant communicated with the Russian ambassador to the United States as a representative of the transition team on two sensitive matters: a United Nations Security Council vote on a resolution calling for Israel to cease settlement activities in Palestinian territory; and the Obama Administration’s imposition of sanctions and other measures on Russia for interfering the 2016 election. Several senior members of the transition team publicly repeated false information conveyed to them by the defendant,” the Addendum says.
(In fact, Vice President Mike Pence was one of the officials who publicly repeated false information given to him by Flynn. In a January 15, 2017 interview with CBS's “Face the Nation,” Pence said he’d spoken with Flynn about his conversation with the Russian ambassador, and according to Pence, Flynn told him “they did not discuss anything having to do with the United States' decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia.")
As for the third, mysterious criminal investigation, the Addendum read as follows: “The defendant also provided useful information concerning” (the rest is redacted).
Mueller's Addendum concludes that Flynn’s “early cooperation was particularly valuable because he was one of the few people with long-term and firsthand insight regarding events and issues under investigation.”
(Firsthand means Flynn was in the room.)
Mueller also said Flynn’s decision to plead guilty and cooperate “likely affected the decisions of related firsthand witnesses to be forthcoming with the SCO and cooperate.”
Flynn's defenders note that he was the victim of illegal surveillance and unmasking by members of the Obama administration, but so far, no one in that orbit has been held accountable.