PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP/RNN) — Special counsel Robert Mueller rejected Michael Flynn’s argument that the way his January 2017 FBI interview was conducted minimizes the fact that he lied to agents in that interview.
Flynn pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI about conversations he had with then-Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak before President Trump’s inauguration.
Last week, Mueller’s original sentencing memo called for Flynn to avoid prison time, which Flynn’s lawyers requested as well.
However, Flynn also contended that the way the interview was conducted was, in effect, meant to trick him, and should be a mitigating factor in his sentencing.
Conservatives have argued he was a victim of entrapment. The Wall Street Journal published an editorial titled “The Flynn Entrapment” on Wednesday.
Mueller’s Friday memo rejected that argument, though. It said he “chose to make false statements” two weeks before the interview, in the media, with Vice President Mike Pence, and with other members of what was then the president’s transition team.
“The circumstances of the defendant’s interview also show that his decision to make false statements was voluntary and intentional,” the special counsel wrote. “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.”
The circumstances of the interview, Mueller concluded, “do not lessen the seriousness of the offense.”
The former national security adviser was said to be relaxed and hopeful even as the possibility of prison looms when he’s sentenced next week.
People close to Flynn told The Associated Press he has been relaxing with friends at events such as an Elton John concert. At a recent Boston Celtics game, strangers approached him to shake his hand and get photos.
His supporters have planned a rally for the day he’s sentenced next Tuesday, and a lucrative consulting gig could await him.
President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday that Flynn was given a great deal because the special counsel was "embarrassed by the way he was treated."