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    Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn leaves federal court in Washington, Friday, Dec. 1, 2017.

    US Special Counsel Defends FBI Interview of Michael Flynn

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    The Federal Bureau of Investigation did not cause former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to "make false statements to the FBI," the special counsel's office, charged with investigating allegations of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russian government, argued in a filing on Friday.

    Flynn asked a federal judge on Tuesday to not sentence him to any time in prison, arguing that the FBI agents who interviewed him had tricked him. That interview was conducted by the since-fired FBI agent Peter Strzok. Another agent was also present.

    "In his sentencing memorandum, the defendant cites circumstances surrounding his FBI interview on January 24, 2017, as a factor that mitigates the seriousness of his offense," the special counsel's office wrote in the Friday filing. "The circumstances of the defendant’s interview, which are further described below, are not mitigating. Nothing about the way the interview was arranged or conducted caused the defendant to make false statements to the FBI on January 24."

    "He does not need to be warned it is a crime to lie to federal agents to know the importance of telling them the truth," the special counsel's office wrote in the Friday filing.

    In early December, special counsel Robert Mueller recommended that Flynn receive no jail time, citing the substantial information and assistance Flynn had provided him in several federal investigations. That included 19 interviews with Mueller's team, totaling more than 60 hours. 

    Former Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe, who has also been fired, and other FBI officials decided before interviewing Flynn that they "would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed, and they were concerned that giving warning might adversely affect the rapport," Flynn's lawyers wrote, citing FBI documents.

    Flynn had offered the FBI agents a tour of the White House. One agent wrote that Flynn “clearly saw the FBI agents as allies,” according to Flynn's lawyers.

    The federal agents "had the impression at the time that the defendant was not lying or did not think he was lying," the government's filing states.

    The federal judge in the case asked the government to turn over documents related to the interview, according to reports published in the media on Thursday. Flynn will be sentenced on December 18. Sentencing guidelines allow for the judge to sentence Flynn to zero to six months in prison, but the Friday filing by the special counsel's office also recommended "a sentence at the low end of the guideline range."

    Tags:
    sentencing, Russiagate, special counsel, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Mueller, Michael Flynn, Robert Mueller, United States
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