rain.png
Wednesday May 27th, 2020 11:23PM

AP source: Flynn breaks with Trump team on Mueller probe

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a move that could signal cooperation with the government, lawyers for former national security adviser Michael Flynn have told President Donald Trump's legal team that they are no longer communicating with them about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference.

Flynn's legal team communicated the decision this week, said a person familiar with the move who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

The decision could be a sign that Flynn is moving to cooperate with Mueller's investigation or negotiate a deal for himself. In large criminal investigations, defense lawyers routinely share information with each other. But it can become unethical to continue such communication if one of the potential targets is looking to negotiate a deal with prosecutors.

Robert Kelner, a lawyer for Flynn, didn't respond to a request for comment Thursday. A lawyer for Flynn's son, Michael Flynn Jr., who has also come under investigation from Mueller's team of prosecutors, declined to comment.

The New York Times first reported the decision.

Flynn was forced to resign as national security adviser in February after White House officials concluded that he had misled them about the nature of his contacts during the transition period with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

He was interviewed by the FBI in January about his communications with the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. The deputy attorney general at the time, Sally Yates, soon advised White House officials that their public assertions that Flynn had not discussed sanctions with Kislyak were incorrect and that Flynn was therefore in a compromised position.

Flynn was facing a Justice Department investigation over his foreign business dealings even before Mueller was appointed as special counsel in May to investigate potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. Mueller has since inherited that investigation.

Flynn, a prominent Trump backer on the campaign trail, has been a key figure in Mueller's probe and of particular interest to Trump. Former FBI Director James Comey, for instance, said that Trump encouraged him to end an FBI investigation into Flynn during a private Oval Office meeting in February.

In addition to scrutinizing Flynn's contacts with Russia during the transition and campaign, Mueller has been investigating the retired U.S. Army lieutenant general's role in $530,000 worth of lobbying work his now-defunct firm performed for a Turkish businessman during the final months of the 2016 presidential campaign.

The lobbying campaign sought to gather derogatory information on Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric and green-card holder living in Pennsylvania. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Gulen of being behind a botched coup and has sought his extradition. Gulen has denied the allegations, and U.S. officials have rebuffed Turkey's extradition demands, citing a lack of evidence.

Flynn and his firm, Flynn Intel Group, carried out the lobbying and research work for several months, meeting with officials from the U.S. and Turkish governments. Flynn also published an op-ed on Election Day in The Hill newspaper, parroting many of the Turkish government's talking points about Gulen. At the time, neither Flynn nor his company was registered with the Justice Department to represent Turkish interests.

Soon after the publication of the op-ed, the Justice Department began investigating Flynn's lobbying work, and in March, he registered with the department as a foreign agent. In federal filings, Flynn acknowledged the work could have benefited the government of Turkey.

Since then, FBI agents working for Mueller have been investigating whether the Turkish government was directing the lobbying work and not a private company owned by a Turkish businessman, Ekim Alptekin, as Flynn's firm has contended. FBI agents have also been asking about Flynn's business partner, Bijan Kian, who served on Trump's presidential transition, and Flynn's son, Michael Flynn Jr., who worked for his father as part of the lobbying campaign. Flynn Jr. also was a near constant presence around his father during the Trump campaign and presidential transition period.

Mueller announced his first charges in the investigation last month, including the guilty plea of a foreign-policy adviser to the campaign, George Papadopoulos, and the indictments of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and business associate Rick Gates.

__

Associated Press writer Chad Day contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News, AP Elections - Campaigns
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
AP source: Flynn breaks with Trump team on Mueller probe
AP source: Flynn's lawyers tell Trump's legal team they are no longer communicating with them about Mueller's investigation, a possible sign of cooperation with the government
4:00AM ( 3 minutes ago )
The Latest: Cheering Zimbabweans await Mnangagwa swearing-in
The Latest: Cheering Zimbabweans await Mnangagwa's swearing-in and 1st address
3:55AM ( 8 minutes ago )
Pistorius' prison sentence increased to 13 years, 5 months
Oscar Pistorius' prison sentence has been increased to 13 years and five months by South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal
3:52AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Pakistan releases US-wanted militant suspect on court order
Pakistani authorities acting on a court order have released a U.S.-wanted militant who allegedly founded a banned group linked to the 2008 Mumbai attack.
2:26AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP source: Flynn lawyers make a break with Trump team
AP source: Flynn lawyers have stopped discussing Russia probe with Trump team
1:41AM ( 2 hours ago )
Papua New Guinea officials remove last refugees from camp
The last asylum seekers have abandoned a closed immigration camp on Papua New Guinea, ending a three-week standoff between police and hundreds of men who had been prepared to suffer squalid conditions rather than leave
12:22AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP National News
Barton to go mum over disclosed photo, citing probe
Barton says he's going mum about a nude photo of him posted online because the matter is under investigation
11:27PM ( 4 hours ago )
Rivers, Chargers beat fading Cowboys 28-6 on Thanksgiving
Philip Rivers threw for 434 yards and three touchdowns in his first Thanksgiving game in his 14th season and the Los Angeles Chargers beat the fading Dallas Cowboys 28-6
8:58PM ( 7 hours ago )
Shoppers mobilize on Thanksgiving, as retailers branch out
Retailers kick off holiday shopping season with an eye toward wooing shoppers away from rivals
8:28PM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Online National News
The Latest: Cheering Zimbabweans await Mnangagwa swearing-in
The Latest: Cheering Zimbabweans await Mnangagwa's swearing-in and 1st address
3:55AM ( 8 minutes ago )
Pistorius' prison sentence increased to 13 years, 5 months
Oscar Pistorius' prison sentence has been increased to 13 years and five months by South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal
3:52AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Trump signals welfare reform is next, with details to come
Trump wants to make changing the welfare system a new priority
3:46AM ( 18 minutes ago )
The Latest: Zimbabweans cheer Mnangagwa's arrival
The Latest: Zimbabweans cheer Mnangagwa's arrival for inauguration; he raises his fist
3:46AM ( 18 minutes ago )
8 thought to be North Korean fishermen wash ashore in Japan
Japanese police are investigating eight men found on Japan's northern coast who say they are from North Korea and washed ashore after their boat broke down
3:41AM ( 23 minutes ago )