Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team on Friday slammed a suggestion by Michael Flynn’s lawyers that President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser lied to the FBI not even a month into his tenure because he was caught off guard when two agents approached him.
However, Mueller’s office said it would not change its recommendation that Flynn receive no jail time, given he has accepted responsibility for his actions and cooperated with the special counsel.
Mueller on Friday also released memos written by the FBI agents, and emphasized that when Flynn lied to them on January 24, 2017, about the substance of his policy conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, he had already lied to several members of Trump’s team and was “committed to his false story” that he and Kislyak did not discuss sanctions.
The FBI memos make clear that top Justice Department and bureau officials knew that Flynn’s public story about his calls with Kislyak differed than what he actually said to the ambassador on the phone during the presidential transition — and the agents who spoke with him at the White House about it were prepared to confront him.
Flynn’s demeanor, however, was so assured in their interview that Flynn did not appear to them, in the moment, to be deceiving them, the memo states.
Flynn later said he had lied. He will be sentenced next week.
Flynn’s lies, the special counsel writes, were well-practiced.
After a Washington Post report on January 12, the special counsel’s office wrote, Flynn “repeated the same false statements to multiple members of the Presidential Transition Team, including Vice President-Elect Michael Pence, incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.”
Mueller added: “Those officials then repeated the defendant’s false statements on national television.”
This story is breaking and will be updated.