The lawyer who represents former national security adviser Michael Flynn met with members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team Monday morning— further fueling speculation that Flynn may be about to take a plea deal in the Russia investigation.
Robert Kelner, Flynn’s attorney, informed Donald Trump’s legal team late last week that he could no longer engage in privileged discussion about defense strategy in the case, ABC News reports. That is a clear indication that Flynn might be negotiating a plea deal that could include him testifying against the president or senior White House officials, according to the report.
Those negotiations would include prosecutors telling Flynn, off the record, of course, the evidence they have against him. They would then give him the opportunity to disclose what information or evidence he has that could implicate others in the case, up to and including the president himself.
Sources told ABC News that prior to last week’s break, Flynn’s legal counsel and Trump’s legal team had engaged in privileged discussions for months.
One member of the Trump legal team, Jay Sekulow, told ABC News last week that the break was “not entirely unexpected.”
“No one should draw the conclusion that this means anything about Gen. Flynn cooperating against the president,” Sekulow said.
But other sources have told ABC News that the general has been feeling the heat ever since prosecutors began focusing on his son, Michael G. Flynn, who worked as a part of Flynn Intel Group. The younger Flynn accompanied his father in 2015 on the trip to Russia where the elder Flynn appeared at a Moscow dinner sitting next to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In addition, ABC News reports that Democrats in Congress forwarded information to the Mueller team allegedly showing that during his confirmation process, Flynn illegally concealed more than a dozen foreign contacts and overseas trips.
In a letter to Flynn’s attorney, Democratic Reps. Elijah Cummings and Eliot L. Engel wrote, “It appears that General Flynn violated federal law by omitting this trip and these foreign contacts from his security clearance renewal application in 2016 and concealing them from security clearance investigators who interviewed him as part of the background check process.”
The information the congressmen reference is information House investigators collected from executives at three private companies Flynn advised in 2015 and 2016 prior to joining then-candidate Trump on the campaign trail.
Flynn was named as Trump’s first national security adviser, but 24 days later, he was forced to resign when it was revealed that he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Russian officials during the presidential transition.
“He has, over and over, omitted information that he should have disclosed,” Cummings told ABC News. “It’s not an aberration, and that’s clear.”
Cummings said that intentionally omitting foreign contacts when applying for security clearance can carry a five-year prison term, but acknowledged that penalties are rarely so severe.
The alleged transgressions do, however, provide the type of leverage that prosecutors can use to compel Flynn to assist in the broader investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Read more at ABC News.