National Security

Judge releases Trump attorney voicemail reviewed by Mueller

A federal judge on Thursday released the audio of a voicemail that then-Trump attorney John Dowd left in late 2017 asking lawyers for former national security adviser Michael Flynn for a “heads-up” if he knew of information implicating President Trump.

Special counsel Robert Mueller examined the November 2017 message in his obstruction of justice inquiry. Dowd left the voicemail for Flynn’s then-attorney Robert Kelner after they withdrew from the joint defense agreement with Trump’s attorneys.{mosads}

In it, Dowd asks Flynn’s attorney’s for a “heads-up” if there is information that “implicates the president.” Dowd also reminds the lawyers that Trump’s “feelings” toward Flynn, a former campaign adviser, still remain.

“I understand that you can’t join the 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, or maybe a national security issue,” Dowd says, according to the recording. “We need some kind of heads-up.”

Judge Emmet Sullivan had obtained the audio from federal prosecutors through a prior court order and has now made it publicly available.

Last week, prosecutors filed a complete transcript of the voicemail after they were ordered to by Sullivan. Dowd and others have complained that the full transcript, which shows him telling Flynn’s attorneys not to give up “confidential information,” demonstrates that Mueller selectively edited the voicemail as it appears in his 448-page report.

A partial transcript of the voicemail is referenced in Mueller’s report in the section discussing potential obstruction.

In an interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity this week, Dowd called Mueller’s report a “fraud” and accused him of making “a false statement” in his report by editing down the transcript of the voicemail in a way that altered the “tenor and contents” of his contacts with Kelner.

Sullivan, a Clinton appointee, had initially ordered that federal prosecutors also provide him with transcripts of any recorded conversations Flynn had with Russian officials, likely then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

But after prosecutors said in a court filing that those contacts were not being considered in the course of Flynn’s sentencing, Sullivan said they no longer needed to release the transcripts.

The release of the audio is one of several developments in Flynn’s case over the past few weeks. Prosecutors filed a less-redacted version of a memo last month revealing Flynn had cooperated in Mueller’s obstruction inquiry in addition to the Russia investigation, including by turning over the voicemail.

The former national security adviser on Thursday also fired his attorneys representing him in the case, a sign that he may be switching up his legal strategy as his sentencing nears.

Flynn was originally set to be sentenced last year, but chose to delay it after Sullivan harshly criticized the ex-Trump official and indicated that he would sentence Flynn to prison time.

Flynn is expected to take the witness stand against his former business partner, Bijan Kian, who faces a July trial on charges of failing to register as a foreign agent for the Turkish government. Flynn is expected to be sentenced sometime thereafter.

Tags Donald Trump Donald Trump Emmet Sullivan John Dowd John Dowd Michael Flynn Michael Flynn Robert Mueller Robert Mueller Sean Hannity
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