Update (12:50 pm ET): After what was by all accounts a contentious hearing, the sentencing has been postponed to give Flynn more time to cooperate. After the judge 'hinted' that prosecutors might have considered charging Flynn with treason, Flynn agreed to take more time to offer more 'cooperation' with authorities.
Sullivan apparently regrets suggesting that Flynn committed treason, telling Flynn and his lawyers not to "read too much" into his questions.
"I was just trying to determine the benefit and the generosity of the government," Sullivan said. "Don't read too much into the questions I ask." Prosecutor Brandon Van Grack said Mueller's team has "no concern" or no reason to think Flynn committed treason.
Flynn's sentencing has been delayed until after a hearing in late March that will determine the status of his cooperation, which is a long time for Flynn to sit and stew after the judge openly told him he was considering sending Flynn to prison and told him he was "disgusted" with his conduct.
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Update (12:45 pm ET): The hearing has started back up again, and Judge Sullivan has made clear that he wasn't suggesting that Flynn had committed treason, saying "the government has no reason to believe Flynn committed treason."
"I felt terrible about that," Sullivan said, after the prosecutor notes Flynn's conduct as a foreign agent ended in mid-Nov 2016. "I'm not suggesting he committed treason," Sullivan added.
Flynn's lawyer said he held "nothing back" in the cooperation deal.
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One week after a federal judge handed down a three-year prison sentence to former Trump attorney Michael Cohen - and more than a year after National Security Advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to charges of lying to the FBI about meetings he had with foreign officials - Flynn is appearing Tuesday before US District Judge Emmet Sullivan in a Virginia courthouse, where his sentence is imminent.
During a break in the hearing, which was requested by Flynn's legal team, the former National Security Advisor was given the opportunity to consult with his lawyers about whether to delay the sentencing until Flynn has finished cooperating with prosecutors. The hearing is set to resume at 12:30 pm.
We're recessing until 12:30, at Flynn's request.— Tim Ryan (@tjryan93) December 18, 2018
Sullivan offered the recess to Flynn while he was going over the seriousness of the offense and shortly after saying he could not promise he would not sentence Flynn to jail time.
It began with Flynn admitting he knew it was illegal to lie to the FBI, and rejecting an opportunity to postpone the hearing. Crucially, Flynn's lawyer said he didn't believe his client was "entrapped" by the FBI.
- FLYNN SAYS WON'T CHALLENGE CIRCUMSTANCES OF FBI INTERVIEW
- FLYNN ADMITS HE KNEW LYING TO THE FBI WAS A CRIME
- FLYNN REJECTS JUDGE'S OFFER FOR SECOND ATTORNEY TO REVIEW PLEA
- FLYNN SAYS HE CONTINUES TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY IN THE CASE
- FLYNN DECLINES JUDGE'S OFFER TO POSTPONE THE HEARING
- FLYNN'S LAWYER SAYS HE DOESN'T BELIEVE FLYNN WAS ENTRAPPED
- JUDGE CONCLUDES NO REASON TO REJECT FLYNN'S GUILTY PLEA
After accepting Flynn's plea, Judge Sullivan warned that Flynn's was a "very serious offense."
Sullivan going into his sentencing considerations now.— Tim Ryan (@tjryan93) December 18, 2018
"This is a very serious offense," Sullivan said. "A high ranking senior official of the government making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation while on the physical premises of the White House."
He also revealed that Flynn could have been indicted in a case involving a Turkish banker accused of helping Iran evade sanctions.
- PROSECUTOR SAYS FLYNN COULD'VE BEEN INDICTED IN LOBBYING CASE
- PROSECUTOR SAYS FLYNN HELPED IN TURKEY LOBBYING CASE
Prosecutors also noted that Flynn could continue to cooperate.
Prosecutor Brandon Van Grack says "it remains a possibility" that Flynn will cooperate with the government going forward.— Tim Ryan (@tjryan93) December 18, 2018
Flynn provided "substantial assistance" on an indictment unsealed in Virginia yesterday against two of his associates
Sullivan is making sure Flynn still wants to go to sentencing today. He notes that Flynn could still cooperate more with the government, which could let him ask for a lower sentence.— Tim Ryan (@tjryan93) December 18, 2018
After confirming that Flynn would still cooperate, the judge's statements took a harsh turn, with the judge accusing Flynn of having 'sold out his country.'
"All along you were an unregistered agent of a foreign country while serving as the national security adviser of the president of the United States...Arguably that undermines everything that flag over here stands for. Arguably, you sold your country out."
He then asked prosecutors considered charging Flynn with treason, to which they hesitated before replying that it wasn't considered.
- ARGUABLY, YOU SOLD YOUR COUNTRY OUT,' JUDGE TELLS FLYNN
- AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES ARE `SERIOUS,' JUDGE TELLS FLYNN
- JUDGE AGAIN OFFERS FLYNN MORE TIME TO COOPERATE BEFORE SENTENCE
- JUDGE ASKS IF FLYNN MIGHT HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH TREASON
- PROSECUTOR SAYS `HESITANT TO ANSWER' BUT NOT SAME AS FARA
According to the Hill, Flynn's sentencing will be a "milestone" in the Mueller probe, which has spanned 19 months. As he approached the courthouse in Virginia, Flynn waded through what one journalist described as a "mosh pit" of demonstrators.
Flynn's appearance in D.C. federal court before U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan will be viewed as a key milestone in an investigation that has prodded along for 19 months amidst high public intrigue and increasing vitriol from the president.
It was expected that Flynn wouldn't receive significant jail time thanks to his "substantial assistance" to Mueller (the special counsel recommended a lenient sentence). Though Flynn was facing up to six months in prison. As a reminder, Flynn has sat for 19 separate sessions with the special counsel amounting to 60 hours of questioning.
Just hours before the decision was handed down, the special counsel last night produced a heavily redacted '302' document detailing then-national security adviser Michael Flynn's interview with FBI agents Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka. The document showed Flynn was repeatedly asked about his contacts with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and in each instance, Flynn denied (or did not recall) any such conversations. That release followed the FBI's refusal to release the 302, which detailed Pientka and Strzok's meeting with Flynn, to clear up suspicions that the document had been tampered with following reports that the two agents did not believe Flynn had been lying. Flynn and his attorneys alleged in a filing last week that Flynn believes he was mislead by the FBI, which Mueller dismissed as an attempt to "minimize the seriousness" of Flynn's crimes.
Earlier in the day, President Trump tweeted "good luck" to Flynn.
Good luck today in court to General Michael Flynn. Will be interesting to see what he has to say, despite tremendous pressure being put on him, about Russian Collusion in our great and, obviously, highly successful political campaign. There was no Collusion!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 18, 2018
After initially denying that he had discussed sanctions and a United Nations Security Council resolution during the presidential transition with Sergei Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US at the tie, Flynn eventually admitted that he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Kislyak. He also confessed to lying to the FBI.