On Thursday, newly unredacted court papers show that Michael Flynn told the special counsel’s investigators that people with links to the Trump administration and Congress contacted him in an attempt to interfere in the Trump-Russia investigation. The filing from Mueller’s office is reportedly the first “public acknowledgment that a person connected to Capitol Hill was suspected of engaging in an attempt to impede the investigation,” per NBC News.
Court papers revealed Thursday say that Flynn “informed the government of multiple instances, both before and after his guilty plea, where either he or his attorneys received communications from persons connected to the Administration or Congress that could’ve affected both his willingness to cooperate and the completeness of that cooperation.”
According to the documents, Flynn even provided a voicemail recording of one such contact. “In some instances, the [special counsel] was unaware of the outreach until being alerted to it by the defendant,” Mueller wrote in a December 2018 memo.
Flynn, a Trump campaign senior adviser and the national security adviser for 24 days, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December 2016. Flynn was scheduled for sentencing in December 2018, but the judge suspended the date until his cooperation with prosecutors had ended. He is currently cooperating with the Eastern District of Virginia regarding a charge of unregistered lobbying for the Turkish government levied at his former business partner Bijan Kian. For his cooperation in the special counsel’s investigation, Mueller requested that Flynn not receive any jail time.
The new release of information could foil the president’s attempt to put the Mueller investigation behind him by using his executive privilege as a firewall against congressional oversight. As another Flynn-related update from Thursday suggests, Trump’s strategy may only be so effective if more information continues to lose its redacted status. On Thursday evening, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered that redacted portions of the Mueller report relating to Michael Flynn must be released to the public by the end of the month. It was the first time a judge ruled that the Justice Department must release blacked-out information from the report.