In response to a court order, Special counsel Robert Mueller on Monday evening released the January 2017 FBI memo that described the interview in which former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn described his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Kislyak during the transition.
CBS News reports:
Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled earlier Monday that the material is “relevant” to Flynn’s sentencing and had ordered the government to publish the interview, known as a “302,” and make it publicly available.
According to the memo, the FBI agents who spoke with Flynn, one of whom was Peter Strzok, asked Flynn if he remembered any conversations with Kislyak about the United Nations vote surrounding Israeli settlements. Flynn quickly responded, “Yes, good reminder” and told the interviewers a number of countries he met with, including “maybe Russia/KISLYAK.” Strzok worked on the Mueller Russia probe until it was discovered that he had exchanged text messages critical of President Trump with another FBI official, Lisa Page. He was fired by the FBI in August.
The document says the interviewers asked Flynn if he asked Russia to vote a certain way at the U.N., and he answered, “No.” “Flynn stated the conversations were along the lines of where do you stand, and what’s your position,” the memo said.
But court documents released last year said a “very senior member” of the Trump transition team in December 2016 directed Flynn to contact Russia and officials from other foreign governments to determine where they stood on a U.N. resolution that would condemn Israeli settlements, influence those governments and delay the vote or defeat the resolution.
On Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller submitted material regarding the former national security adviser’s questioning by the FBI. That filing included a redacted copy of Flynn’s interview. Flynn’s attorneys had complained that the FBI agents who questioned him had not warned him that lying to the FBI was a crime.
“Nothing about the way the interview was arranged or conducted caused the defendant to make false statements to the FBI on January 24,” the special counsel wrote in its response on Friday.
“A sitting National Security Advisor, former head of an intelligence agency, retired Lieutenant General, and 33-year veteran of the armed forces knows he should not lie to federal agents. He does not need to be warned it is a crime to lie to federal agents to know the importance of telling them the truth,” the memo said.
The special counsel also asserted with the 302 filing that “during the interview, the FBI agents gave the defendant multiple opportunities to correct his false statements by revisiting key questions.”
Mueller’s office has recommended that Flynn receive zero to six months of incarceration because of his “substantial assistance” in the investigation. He met with the special counsel 19 times as part of his agreement to cooperate with the government in its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. According to the filing, Flynn has been cooperating in “several ongoing investigations.” Flynn helped government investigators on a “range of issues, including interactions between individuals in the Presidential Transition Team and Russia.”
Flynn’s attorneys filed a sentencing recommendation Tuesday calling for a sentence of probation and community service, sparing him prison time out of respect for his decades of military service and his “genuine contrition for the uncharacteristic error in judgment that brought him before this court.”