Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn will reschedule the sentencing hearing for his guilty plea on lying to the FBI — an unexpected turn in Tuesday’s lively court proceedings which saw a D.C. circuit judge accusing Flynn of selling out his country — then denying that his line of questions to Special Counsel prosecutors were accusations of “treason.”
Judge Emmet G. Sullivan set a status hearing for March 13 after Flynn’s lawyer Robert Kelner requested the delay.
The request is a clear reversal from Flynn and Kelner’s resigned compliance as the hearing kicked off at 11:30 AM. Sullivan asked whether the retired Army Lt. General wanted a sentencing delay to possibly reverse his plea and fight the process crime charges from Robert Mueller’s prosecutors.
Flynn and Kelner initially responded no — that Gen. Flynn was not entrapped by disgraced former FBI agent Peter Strzok, who interviewed him with another agent in January 2017, and that he understood that false statements to the FBI could be used against him, even though he met the two agents without legal representation.
After this exchange, Judge Sullivan tore into Flynn, calling the charges a “serious offense” and attacking the former Trump official for his work as an unregistered foreign agent on behalf of the Islamist state of Turkey. “Arguably, you sold your country out,” Sullivan fumed.
Progressive pundits’ ears perked up even more when Judge Sullivan asked a Special Counsel prosecutor whether the government believed that his actions rose “to the level of treasonous activity.” When the respondent demurred, Sullivan probed further, asking whether Flynn could have been charged with treason under the Logan Act. Again, the prosecutor would not say.
Soon after the judge broached the topic of “treason,” Flynn requested a recess to have time to confer with his counsel.
When the court hearing resumed, Sullivan emphatically denied the obvious implication of his “treason” questions, perhaps aware that the comments spread like wildfire on social media. “I felt terrible about that,” he said, noting that Flynn’s activity as a foreign agent ended in November 2016 and is thus not directly related to the charges of making false statements two months later.
“Don’t read too much into the questions I asked,” Sullivan continued. “I wasn’t suggesting he was committing treason. I was just curious if he could have been charged. Lots of conspiracy theories out there.”
Kelner followed the judge’s backtrack with a request to delay Flynn’s sentencing, citing his probable testimony in the prosecution of two former associates allegedly involved in his Turkey lobbying efforts. The defense lawyer argued Flynn may be able to “eke out” one last bit of cooperation with the feds before his final sentencing.
“He has held nothing back,” Kelner said. The FARA investigation “is the only area in which there is anything left to give,” he added.
Flynn reached a plea agreement with prosecutors in December 2017, admitting he gave false statements to FBI agents and pledging to testify for the Special Counsel — which was set up ostensibly to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Flynn’s purported false statements were about a phone conversation with Russian ambassador Sergey Kisleyak during Trump’s transition process. Mueller’s prosecutors recommended no jail time for the general, citing his “substantial assistance” to investigators.