WASHINGTON ― Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, knew better than to lie to the FBI, the special counsel team led by Robert Mueller told a federal judge Friday ahead of Flynn’s scheduled sentencing.
“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,” Mueller’s team wrote in a court filing Friday. “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 defendant undoubtedly was aware, in light of his ‘many years’ working with the FBI, that lying to the FBI carries serious consequences.”
Flynn, who has been cooperating with Mueller’s team, is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday for lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition period.
Mueller’s team previously said that a sentence between zero and six months would be appropriate because of Flynn’s “particularly valuable” cooperation in the Trump-Russia probe. Flynn’s team argued for no prison time, but also suggested that FBI agents had tricked Flynn into lying to them.
The Mueller team’s Friday filing strikes back at that suggestion, and notes that Flynn was “relaxed and jocular” during his interactions with the FBI agents. Mueller’s team said that it didn’t matter that FBI agents didn’t see any clear indications of deception at the time, nor that they didn’t think he was lying. “Those misimpressions do not change the face ― as the defendant has admitted in sworn testimony to this District Court ― that he was indeed lying, and knowingly made false statements to FBI agents in a national security investigation.”
Mueller’s team said the court should “reject his attempt to minimize” the seriousness of Flynn’s crime.
This has been updated.