Mueller releases memo detailing 2017 FBI interview with Flynn

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE on Monday night released a memo detailing then-national security adviser Michael Flynn's interview with FBI agents, in which Flynn repeatedly lied about his contacts with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

The memo, known as an FD-302, was released at the request of the federal judge overseeing Flynn’s case in Washington, D.C., on the eve of Flynn’s sentencing Tuesday morning.

It details Flynn’s Jan. 24, 2017, interview with FBI agents about his contacts with Kislyak and shows that the agents repeatedly questioned him on whether he discussed sanctions with Russia during the conversations.

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He repeatedly denied having any discussions with Kislyak about sanctions on Russia as a result of Moscow’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. 

Flynn ultimately resigned as President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE's national security adviser in February 2017 over revelations that he misled Vice President Pence and other administration officials about his talks with Kislyak regarding sanctions.

Months later, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents in the interview and agreed to cooperate in Mueller’s sprawling probe into Russian interference in the election. In addition to admitting he lied when denying his conversations on sanctions with Kislyak, Flynn has also admitted to lying when he told the FBI he did not ask Kislyak to delay or defeat a vote on a pending United Nations Security Council resolution regarding Israel.   

The memo released Monday, which is heavily redacted, offers new insight into the interview from the early months of the counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference.

It states that the FBI agents asked Flynn whether he remembered any interaction with Kislyak “surrounding the expulsion of Russian diplomats or closing of Russian properties in response to Russian hacking activities surrounding the election.” Flynn denied it, claiming that he was unaware of the planned sanctions during a call with Kislyak in late December 2016 because he was on vacation with his wife in the Dominican Republic.

It was on Dec. 29, 2016, that Flynn has since admitted he asked Kislyak to “refrain from escalating the situation” in response to the sanctions imposed that day, according to court filings unsealed when Flynn ultimately pleaded guilty last December. Flynn also admitted to discussing his calls with Kislyak with other unnamed members of the presidential transition team.

Flynn also at one point told the agents interviewing him that “it was possible that he talked to Kislyak on the issue, but if he did, he did not remember doing so,” according to the memo.

Flynn’s calls with Kislyak are said to have been picked up by U.S. officials as a result of routine intelligence operations against Russian officials.

At one point during the interview, the agents asked Flynn if he discussed a U.N. vote regarding Israeli settlements with Kislyak, and he responded “Yes, good reminder.”

Flynn went on to say he called officials in several countries on Dec. 22, 2016, including Israel, the United Kingdom and possibly Russia, but claimed he did so only to understand where they stood on the resolution.

When pressed on whether he asked Kislyak to vote one way or another, Flynn replied that he did not and “stated his calls were about asking where countries would stand on a vote, not any requests of, ‘hey, if you do this.’ ”

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan asked Mueller to submit documents related to Flynn’s FBI interview last week after his defense attorneys suggested in their sentencing memo that Flynn had been entrapped by the agents who interviewed him. The filing has inflamed a theory among conservatives that Flynn was wronged by the Justice Department and by Mueller.

One of two agents who interviewed Flynn, Peter Strzok, has become a frequent target of conservatives as a result of text messages critical of Trump that he sent prior to the election. Strzok has since been fired by the Justice Department. 

Flynn’s attorneys did not take issue with Mueller’s description of the offense but argued that the circumstances of his FBI interview “warrant the Court’s consideration as it evaluates the seriousness of the offense.”

Mueller, who has asked Sullivan to impose a lenient sentence as a result of Flynn’s “substantial assistance” in the ongoing probe, shot back late last week, accusing Flynn of trying to “minimize” the seriousness of his crimes.

“The defendant chose to make false statements about his communications with the Russian ambassador weeks before the FBI interview, when he lied about that topic to the media, the incoming Vice President, and other members of the Presidential Transition Team,” Mueller wrote.

“When faced with the FBI’s question on January 24, during an interview that was voluntary and cordial, the defendant repeated the same false statements,” he wrote.

Monday’s filing includes two near-identical versions of what are called FD-302s, forms on which FBI agents record notes from interviews.

Mueller separately filed redacted versions of other documents associated with Flynn’s January 2017 interview late last week.

Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced at 11 a.m. Tuesday in federal court in D.C.

— Emily Birnbaum contributed. Updated at 8:50 p.m.