Could this be the first hint of a plea deal in the making?
The lawyer for former national security adviser Michael Flynn met earlier Monday with members of Robert Mueller’s team, as the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and any possible collusion or obstruction that occurred along the way grinds on.
President Trump’s legal team confirmed late last week that Flynn’s attorney Robert Kelner alerted them that he could no longer engage in privileged discussions about defense strategy in the case, a sign Flynn is preparing to negotiate with prosecutors over a deal that could include Flynn’s testimony against the President or senior White House officials.
That process would typically include a series of off-the-record discussions in which prosecutors lay out in detail for Flynn and his lawyers the fruits of their investigation into his activities. Prosecutors would also provide Flynn an opportunity to offer what’s called a “proffer,” detailing what information, if any, he has that could implicate others in wrongdoing.
Kelner is keeping mum on what went on with Mueller’s team today, but we do know that Flynn offered to cooperate with investigators months ago, in exchange for immunity. That deal was, at the time, rejected.
We also know Kelner had been in communication with Trump’s defense, for months. It wasn’t any sort of coordination for a joint defense, but whatever information they could have used to help each other, they won’t be sharing, now.
Trump’s lawyer, Jay Sekulow, insists that this break from cooperation doesn’t mean there’s anything darker on the horizon for his client.
Sources familiar with the Flynn investigation have told ABC News the retired general has felt increased pressure since prosecutors began focusing attention on his son, Michael G. Flynn, who worked as part of Flynn Intel Group, the consulting firm founded by the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He also traveled with his father to Russia in 2015 for his now famous appearance at a Moscow dinner where he sat next to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Democrats in Congress have told ABC News they forwarded information to the Mueller team alleging that Flynn illegally concealed more than a dozen foreign contacts and overseas trips during the process of renewing his security clearances.
If hiding details from security clearance paperwork is proof of wrongdoing, then Jared Kushner is sweating his silk socks off, right about now.
All of Flynn’s omissions, from the 2015 trip to Russia, where he hob-knobbed with Vladimir Putin, to work his lobbying firm did for Turkey could amount to serious trouble, up to and including a 5 year prison term.
Of his dealings with Turkey, at least one, bizarre twist included a potential kidnapping plot involving a Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, charged with leading a failed coup, now living in exile in Pennsylvania.
Former CIA director James Woolsey confirmed to ABC News he was at a meeting in which Flynn allegedly raised the idea.
“It became clear to me that, they were seriously considering a kidnapping operation for Gulen, and I told them then that it was a bad idea, it was illegal,” Woolsey said. “I won’t say that they had firmly decided to do that. But they were seriously considering it.”
Of course, Flynn’s lawyer disputes those reports, but I’m thinking whatever Mueller’s team is offering, Flynn may be ready to jump on it, as long as it keeps his son in the clear.