Former U.S. national security adviser Michael Flynn gave Special Counsel Robert Mueller information about attempts by people tied to the Trump administration and Congress to obstruct the Russian Federation investigation, court documents released on Thursday showed.
Among the things Flynn and his lawyers provided the special counsel was a voicemail from a Trump associate to a Flynn lawyer asking for "some kind of heads up" if Flynn was planning to cooperate with the government and what he might be telling them.
The ruling, the first time a judge has ordered parts of the report be unredacted, will likely set up a legal conflict with Attorney General William Barr, whose office blacked out parts of the report that relate to ongoing investigations.
The communications could have "affected both his willingness to cooperate and the completeness of that cooperation", special counsel Robert Mueller wrote in the court filings. They say Mueller's office was "unaware of the outreach until being alerted to it by the defendant".
Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents about his December 2016 conversations with Sergei Kislyak, then Russia's ambassador in Washington, about USA sanctions imposed on Moscow by the administration of Trump's Democratic predecessor Barack Obama. The information includes details on Flynn's communications with Russians and exposes efforts by those close the president to thwart the investigation.
'The defendant even provided a voicemail recording of one such communication, ' it continued.
Mueller concluded his Russian Federation investigation earlier this year and handed over a 448-page report to Attorney General Bill Barr in late March.
Flynn is awaiting sentencing after he pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Trump took office.
No other details were provided in the filing, but the Mueller report noted that President Donald Trump's personal lawyer left a voicemail message for Flynn in late November 2017 that addressed the possibility of him cooperating with the government. For example, prosecutors wrote in the newly unsealed documents that Flynn "recalled conversations with senior campaign officials after the release of the then-Hillary Clinton presidential campaign manager John Podesta's emails, during which the prospect of reaching out to WikiLeaks was discussed".
Mueller has asked for the judge not to sentence Flynn to prison given his substantial cooperation.
Investigators said Flynn's cooperation was "particularly valuable because he was one of the few people with long-term and firsthand insight regarding events and issues under investigation by the [special counsel's office]".
The document also details how Flynn assisted investigators as they looked into whether the Trump campaign conspired with the Kremlin to sway the outcome of the 2016 election.
A redacted version of Mueller's report released last month said that the evidence did not establish a criminal conspiracy between Russian Federation and the campaign.
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