Mueller Recommends No Incarceration for Michael Flynn

The Special Counsel's office has filed its Sentencing Memorandum for Michael Flynn. The memo recommends Flynn be spared a sentence of incarceration due to his timely plea, his years of service to the military, and his cooperation.

Mueller's office also filed a sealed supplement, outlining his cooperation and asking for a downward departure from his sentencing range because of it.
In the Sentencing Memo, Team Mueller writes:

The defendant’s record of military and public service distinguish him from every other person who has been charged as part the SCO’s investigation.


On the other hand, they write:

[S]enior government leaders should be held to the highest standards. The defendant’s extensive government service should have made him particularly aware of the harm caused by providing false information to the government, as well as the rules governing work performed on behalf of a foreign government.

There were three distinct areas he lied: His paid work for Russian state media, his lobbying work for Turkey (which may or may not have involved an unacceptable plan to kidnap the cleric and remove him to Turkey, bypassing the legal system)and his meetings with Russian diplomat Sergei Kisylak. The New York Times had this helpful graphic.

The Flynn sentencing memo certainly has a different tone than the memo the Government filed for George Papadopoulos, whose sentencing guideline range was also 0 to 6 months. Team Mueller asked for "some incarceration" for him and he got 14 days. (He whined all the way to the prison door,threatening to withdraw his plea, asking for delays, sending his wife to appear on Fox News to plead his case on TV).

It's not too often a U.S. general gets sentenced for committing a crime. The last one I remember is General Petraeus, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified information and was sentenced to two years probation. He also lied about the disclosure when questioned by the DOD about it.

Mueller isn't saying exactly what Flynn did that was valuable, only that he may not be done investigating what Flynn told him.

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    I cannot help thinking of the evening (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by Peter G on Wed Dec 05, 2018 at 12:32:17 PM EST
    Ok. That does it. LWOP. (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by oculus on Wed Dec 05, 2018 at 04:27:11 PM EST
    You know what they say about (none / 0) (#7)
    by Peter G on Wed Dec 05, 2018 at 10:28:27 PM EST
    the liberal who's been mugged and the conservative who's been indicted. Perhaps Flynn has learned something from this experience.

    How to sing. (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by oculus on Thu Dec 06, 2018 at 10:29:24 AM EST
    I was hoping for something more (none / 0) (#10)
    by Peter G on Thu Dec 06, 2018 at 12:18:42 PM EST
    in the nature of empathy.

    Ha. You hope in vain. (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by oculus on Thu Dec 06, 2018 at 06:27:51 PM EST
    You don't get empathy from a caricature. (none / 0) (#11)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Dec 06, 2018 at 01:48:46 PM EST
    The preening and pompous Mike Flynn has always struck me as a combination of Gens. Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) and Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott) from Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove."

    That said, I do appreciate the irony of the roughest, toughest, most Trumpian Trumpster of them all during the 2016 campaign -- outside of Der Trumpenführer himself, of course -- apparently singing to the Office of Special Counsel like a pet shop canary.



    Is the judge likely to follow Mueller's (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by vml68 on Wed Dec 05, 2018 at 01:25:23 PM EST
    recommendation? How does it usually work in these kinds of situations?
    No matter how valuable the information Flynn provided, I would really like to see him do some jail time.

    Depends on the judge, of course. But (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Peter G on Wed Dec 05, 2018 at 04:05:41 PM EST
    overall, based on general experience, I'd give him better than 85% odds of the judge going along with the recommendation.

    Agree it depends on the judge but (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Dec 19, 2018 at 01:01:29 AM EST
    I think judges mostly follow the prosecutor's recommendation when it comes to the amount of a cooperation reduction -- e.g. a reduction of x number of levels, or X percent from their guidelines. When it comes to conditions of the sentence, which is what's at stake with Flynn since everyone agrees he is in the 0 to 6 month range, I think judges are more likely to excercise their individual discretion and less likely to follow the government's script.

    I think it was a mistake for Flynn's lawyers to cite Alex Van der Zwaan (30 days) and George Papadopoulos (14 days) to the judge as a comparison. As the Govt pointed out in it's reply to Flynn's filing:

    bq. He, unlike Van der Zwaan and Papadapoulous, was a senior national security official with extensive federal government experience, had led an intelligence agency, had worked with the FBI, and was steeped in the importance of accurate information to decision making in areas of national security.

    I also think Flynn folded so quickly to protect his son. He made his choice, he needs to own up to it and embrace it.  To move from "I did it" which he acknowledged at his guilty plea to "I did it but I got tricked" shows a lack of genuine remorse for the crime -- and sounds more like "I'm sorry I got caught."

    I dould see the judge throwing Van der Zwaan and Papadapoulous right back at him and saying if they got 30 and 14 days, Flynn should get 60.


    Mr. Mueller is (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by KeysDan on Wed Dec 05, 2018 at 03:49:40 PM EST
    methodically flipping smaller fish to catch yet  bigger ones.  Michael Flynn, as National Security Advisor, was a pretty big fish so not too much doubt remains as to the casting direction for  bigger fish.  However, the outcome for Flynn (and, in the process, for his sorry son) is now known, but not much else---leaving, at least at this point, a sense of unsatisfaction.

    Even if Flynn had done a tenth of what he was caught doing, he would be lucky not to be locked up. And, not too fond of that on the one hand, and on the other mitigating/non-mitigating part: on the one hand, public and military service, and on the other, higher standards. What about yet another hand (this Trump crowd is somewhat freakish): that Flynn's lies were not only many in number, but also, were material to an investigation of conspiracy against the USA.  He was a soldier and sold out his troops by working with the Russians, a hostile power.

    Flynn, once again, was among "the best people". A three-star Army general who ran intelligence, but did not know that we keep tabs on Russians around the clock.  Overall, not exactly a bright star in the military constellation. Trump was warned about him by Obama.

     Unless part of the redaction, the sentencing memo does not invoke national security issues, so Flynn may be safe from any Army sanctions, including a General Court-Martial, with a recall to active duty and possible dishonorable discharge, with stripping of rank, pension, an benefits.

    An Army investigation may be a thing.   In any event, he should not be accorded the title of General.  Mister--- is probably more than deserved.

    See the cat? See the cradle? (1.25 / 4) (#6)
    by thomas rogan on Wed Dec 05, 2018 at 08:34:26 PM EST
    Now Mueller knows all the facts, uncovered up.  Couldn't he have had Flynn plead guilty to a plea bargain of some actual crime instead of a perjury trap?  Or were all of Mueller's "shady" actual lobbying activities not illegal at all?  

    Funny stuff (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Yman on Sat Dec 08, 2018 at 11:13:53 AM EST
    Flynn was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser offense and avoid other charges as part of his cooperation deal.  I understand why that upsets the Trumpers, but the "actual crime"/"perjury trap" nonsense is getting old.  Although, I guess it's pretty much the only argument left at this point.

    Tick, tock ...


    The charges (none / 0) (#8)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Dec 06, 2018 at 06:25:01 AM EST
    of perjury are what got him to flip. Now he's spilled the beans and told everything he knows. I guess Mueller sees the deal with Flynn being worth it because he's going to be able to nail some long time criminals like Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone.

    "Perjury trap"? LOL! Get real, dude. (none / 0) (#14)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Dec 18, 2018 at 06:04:50 AM EST
    "Yes, I know who Judas was. He was a man I worked for and admired -- until he disgraced the four stars on his uniform."
    - Col. Martin "Jiggs" Casey (Kirk Douglas) to Gen. James Matoon Scott (Burt Lancaster), "Seven Days in May" (1964)

    Sorry, but one must assume that as sitting National Security Advisor, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, retired Lieutenant General, and 33-year veteran of the armed forces, Michael Flynn clearly should have known better than to lie to federal agents.

    Further, let's please remember that in January 2017, the FBI's inquiry into suspected Russian interference in the just-concluded 2016 election was still a counter-intelligence investigation. Gen. Flynn was neither a subject nor target of a criminal probe at this point. That would come later.

    In Dec. 2016-Jan. 2017, federal investigators were still trying to figure out what exactly was going on with Gen. Flynn, and agents were under no obligation to reveal to him what they already knew about either his contacts with Ambassador Kislyak or -- as we know now, thanks to today's indictments -- his then-undisclosed $600,000 consulting contract with the Turkish government.

    So, just like the fictional Gen. Scott in John Frankenheimer's fictional account of an attempted coup against the president by the U.S. military, Gen. Flynn has effectively betrayed his country by working against its best interests, and has thus disgraced the stars on his uniform. And quite honestly, if the judge accepts the Special Counsel's sentencing recommendation today, I think Flynn's getting off remarkably easy, all things considered.



    Asking someone a question that he knows (none / 0) (#15)
    by Peter G on Tue Dec 18, 2018 at 10:43:37 AM EST
    he has no obligation to answer (an FBI interview, not testimony under subpoena), but also knows he should not lie to, is not what is meant by a "perjury trap." It is a test of whether that person has "consciousness of guilt" (or worse, such as an intent to obstruct the inquiry), which is a material fact in the investigation.

    Thank you for that explanation, Peter. (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Dec 18, 2018 at 12:25:12 PM EST
    It's good for us to know this stuff, given the flood of misinformation pouring in from the right on the nature of Gen. Flynn's offense and the FBI's investigation of him.

    The (none / 0) (#16)
    by FlJoe on Tue Dec 18, 2018 at 11:12:13 AM EST
    judge is not buying the nonsense.
    "You were an unregistered agent of a foreign country while serving as the national security adviser to the president of the United States!" Sullivan fumed. "Arguably, this undermines everything this flag over here stands for! Arguably, you sold your country out!"

    Sullivan continued by saying, "I'm not hiding my disgust, my disdain for this criminal offense."

    Flynn astutely requests delay of (none / 0) (#17)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 18, 2018 at 11:57:02 AM EST
    sentencing.  Norw if he could just get a different judge.

    Judge Sullivan agrees to postpone (none / 0) (#18)
    by Peter G on Tue Dec 18, 2018 at 12:25:02 PM EST
    Flynn's sentencing to March 2019, after hearing the arguments for both sides.

    Some (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by FlJoe on Tue Dec 18, 2018 at 05:23:29 PM EST
    of the reporting is suggesting that the judge was signaling it was either jail time now or take his chances later when the judge cools down.

    I don't understand the last ditch "perjury trap" gambit at all. Maybe kabuki for tRump and his base but Flynn sure folded quickly and is seemingly worse off on all fronts now.

    Maybe it's all reality TV now.


    Entirely reality tv IMO (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 18, 2018 at 05:37:55 PM EST
    He wanted to have it both ways.  Say he was cooperating while keeping the conspiracy theory he was "entrapped" alive for his cred in the Q-Anon crowd

    It was outrageous.  More so because of, as the judge correctly pointed out, the seriousness and number of his crimes.

    I think it's amazing.  It begins to renew my faith in the system.  I suspect I am not alone in that.

    This man should not walk free.  And if he did he damn sure should not be allowed to at the same time pad his FOX NEWS resume.

    I love this judge.


    Love the judge (none / 0) (#23)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Dec 18, 2018 at 05:58:22 PM EST
    Me too. I have read that some of this is caused by Papadapolous who basically played his lienency from the judge as a joke. I mean if I were Mueller I would be angry as a hornet with George and frankly want to put him in the slammer for the max 6 months. Now George is saying he is going to run for congress?

    Kind of bland. (none / 0) (#20)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 18, 2018 at 03:22:29 PM EST
    I have a question, Peter. (none / 0) (#24)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Dec 18, 2018 at 06:25:27 PM EST
    Judge Sullivan has slapped a travel restriction on Michael Flynn, effective January 4, 2019, and has ordered him to surrender his passport on that date and not travel more than 50 miles from Washington, D.C. without first obtaining the Court's prior concurrence.

    I've heard some of the commentariat suggest that Sullivan is hinting at a prison sentence for the defendant. What is your opinion? Are they making more out of this than what's there?



    Not Peter but only can quote the judge (none / 0) (#25)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 18, 2018 at 07:00:20 PM EST
    And I would not call it a hint.

    Arguably, you sold your country out.
    The court is going to consider all that.  I can assure you that if you proceed today you will not receive a sentence of incarceration.  But I have to also tell you that at some point, if and when the govt says you've concluded with your cooperation you could be incarcerated.

    Um, if I'm going to quote the judge (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 18, 2018 at 07:20:00 PM EST
     I can NOT assure you that if you proceed today you will not receive a sentence of incarceration.

    Nothing in the bail order suggests (none / 0) (#27)
    by Peter G on Tue Dec 18, 2018 at 10:44:06 PM EST
    a prison sentence. See my comment #9 in the later thread on this. However, as Howdy points out, the rest of the judge's comments show that he is not impressed with the Special Prosecutor's sentencing recommendation for Flynn.