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Flynn’s Sentence Delayed
Flynn’s lawyers took up Judge Emmet Sullivan’s repeated offers to postpone the sentencing, after he criticized the former national security advisor for lying to FBI agents while in the “white house,” saying that it was a “very serious offence.” At one point during the tense hearing, the judge told Flynn, quote "Arguably you sold your country out." He said that Flynn was acting as a foreign agent, but after the break, the Judge retracted his comments. Judge Sullivan embarked on a line of inquiry saying that he was concerned with the new information raised in Flynn’s sentencing memo, saying that it was not consistent with his guilty plea. At the start of the hearing, the judge asked Flynn whether he wanted to withdraw his guilty plea or postpone the matter, in which Flynn answered “no.” Flynn changed his mind when the judge repeatedly offered to delay the matter so he could fully cooperate with federal prosecutors. Flynn—who served on Trump’s team for only twenty four days—pleaded guilty in December last year for making false statements during an interview which he had with FBI agents. The agents were questioning Flynn about his contacts with then-Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. The Mueller team spent the next eleven months asking for Flynn’s sentencing to be delayed, pushing the date back three times, until finally a firm date of Dec. 18 was set. In a new development last week, Flynn’s sentencing memorandum revealed how the FBI agents conducted the interview with Flynn under unusual circumstances. A heavily redacted memo filed by Mueller substantiated Flynn’s claims of how then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe called Flynn prior to the FBI interview. McCabe suggested to Flynn not to have a lawyer present during the interview. Meanwhile the two agents—one being FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok—did not warn Flynn about the federal penalties for lying to the FBI. SOUNDBITE SARAH SANDERS: [00:56”] “What we do know that was inappropriate by own self-admittance by James Comey, is that the FBI broke standard protocol in a way that they came in and ambushed General Flynn…” In response to the Flynn revelation, President Donald Trump said last week, [QUOTE] “They gave General Flynn a great deal because they were embarrassed by the way he was treated—the FBI said he didn’t lie and they overrode the FBI.” The president was referring to how then-FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers that the FBI agents did not think Flynn lied during the interview. Meanwhile Flynn’s case stands in stark contrast to the situation of McCabe himself, who was fired from the FBI for repeatedly lying to internal investigators. Unlike Flynn, McCabe was interviewed twice, both times under oath, was asked on two occasions whether he needed to clarify or change anything, and was never charged with making false official statements. According to the prosecutors, Flynn was also given chances to correct himself during the interview, but was not re-interviewed at a later date. General Flynn has had a successful career in the military. In Flynn’s sentencing memo, his lawyers submitted 50 letters of support from family, friends, and colleagues, many of whom are high-ranking active or retired military officers. The letters detailed multiple instances in which Flynn saved the lives of others, such as in nineteen eighty three during the U.S. invasion of Grenada, where he jumped off a 40-foot cliff and rescued two U.S. servicemen swept out to sea. Several of his military performance reviews, attached to the memo, show that his supervisors held him in high regard. Meanwhile, it is still unclear why Flynn decided to lie to the FBI during that interview in January last year. And it also remains unknown who actually leaked Flynn’s highly classified phone call with the Russian ambassador to the media—which is a far more serious felony violation. The judge scheduled a status report for March 13 next year.