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Prosecutors release Flynn voicemail transcript that Mueller reviewed in obstruction probe

Federal prosecutors have released the full transcript of a voicemail from one of President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE’s attorneys to an attorney for Michael Flynn that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE examined as part of his obstruction inquiry.

The voicemail was left for Robert Kelner, a lawyer for the former national security adviser, after Flynn withdrew from a joint defense agreement with Trump’s attorneys and began cooperating in Mueller’s investigation. 

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According to the voicemail transcript, Trump’s lawyer asked Flynn’s attorney for a “heads up” if he knew of information that “implicates the president,” describing it as a “national security issue.” The president’s attorney also said that Trump’s feeling toward Flynn “still remains.”

Mueller examined the voicemail as part of his investigation into whether Trump or others obstructed justice, in which Flynn provided information. Mueller ultimately did not make a decision on whether Trump obstructed the investigation.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if you’ve gone on to make a deal with, and uh, work with the government,” Trump’s counsel, identified in news reports as John Dowd, said, according to the transcript. “I understand that you can’t join the joint defense; so that’s one thing. If, on the other hand, we have, there’s information that … implicates the president, then we’ve got a national security issue.”

“Then, you know, we need some kind of heads up. Um, just for the sake of … protecting all our interests,” the attorney said. “Remember what we’ve always said about the president and his feelings toward Flynn and that still remains.” 

Earlier this month, Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered government prosecutors to file a transcript of the voicemail, which is referenced in Mueller's report and a less-redacted version of a memo detailing Flynn’s cooperation that Mueller filed in December. 

Sullivan also ordered the government to file transcripts of recordings of Flynn’s phone calls with Russian officials and those of any other recordings of him. And the judge instructed prosecutors to file unredacted passages from Mueller’s 448-page report that relate to Flynn.

On Friday, federal prosecutors said they were not relying on any other records in the case against Flynn and would not be filing transcripts of other contacts.

“The government further represents that it is not relying on any other recordings, of any person, for purposes of establishing the defendant’s guilt or determining his sentence, nor are there any other recordings that are part of the sentencing record,” prosecutors in Washington, D.C., wrote in a filing Friday afternoon.

Prosecutors also said that all of the material Flynn provided to the special counsel’s office is currently in unredacted, public report, as well as all of the information about Flynn.

Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to FBI agents about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. He also agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak about sanctions on Russia were revealed by The Washington Post in February 2017 and eventually prompted Flynn's resignation from the White House later that month.

Mueller said last year that Flynn provided “substantial assistance” in the Russia investigation and other inquiries, recommending he be given a lenient sentence. Mueller said Flynn provided information about interactions between members of Trump’s transition team and Kremlin officials. 

The new version of his sentencing memo filed earlier in May revealed that Flynn also assisted in Mueller’s inquiry into obstruction of justice, including by providing the special counsel’s team with the voicemail recording. Quotes from the voicemail are referenced in the public report, which was released in April. 

“The defendant informed the government of multiple instances, both before and after his guilty plea, where either he or his attorneys received communications from persons connected to the Administration or Congress that could have affected both his willingness to cooperate and the completeness of that cooperation,” the sentencing memo filed on May 16 states. 

Mueller ultimately did not charge members or associates of Trump’s campaign with conspiring with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election. The special counsel also did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed the probe, though Attorney General William BarrBill BarrNew DOJ rule could allow executions by electrocution, firing squad Clyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts Five federal inmates scheduled for execution before Inauguration Day MORE and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinTrump turns his ire toward Cabinet members Ex-deputy attorney general says Justice Dept. 'will ignore' Trump's threats against political rivals The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump's erratic tweets upend stimulus talks; COVID-19 spreads in White House MORE later reviewed the evidence and said it was insufficient to charge Trump with obstruction.

Mueller said in a press conference Wednesday that he did not reach a conclusion one way or another on obstruction because of the Justice Department opinion that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

“Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider,” Mueller said in his first public remarks since being tapped as special counsel two years ago. He reiterated that his investigation did not exonerate Trump of allegations of obstruction.

Flynn was supposed to be sentenced in December but elected to delay his sentencing, after Sullivan sternly criticized his actions and suggested he was prepared to give Flynn jail time.

Flynn also assisted the government in the criminal investigation into his former business partner, Bijan Kian, who has been charged with working as an unregistered foreign agent for the Turkish government. Flynn is expected to take the witness stand against Kian, who has pleaded not guilty and is set to go to trial in July in the Eastern District of Virginia.