A federal judge on Thursday ordered the release of materials obtained during the course of Robert Mueller’s investigation which seem to point at efforts by the Trump administration and its allies to obstruct justice in the case of admitted felon and former National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn.
DC District Judge Emmet Sullivan approved the release of a transcript from a November 2017 voicemail left by one of President Donald Trump’s then-personal attorneys—John Dowd, the Washington Post reported—for Flynn’s attorney, Robert Kelner, in which Dowd reiterated the president’s “warm feelings” for his former advisor. The message came just as Flynn was beginning to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation.
“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,” Mueller’s prosecutors wrote in a newly-released filing, first reported late Thursday (emphasis mine).
Notably, the filing does not say who the “persons connected to... Congress” may have been.
The judge also ordered the release of the transcript of Flynn’s call with the Russian ambassador in late 2016, the content of which the former Trump insider was convicted of lying about to the FBI. Per the Post:
In the December 2016 call, Flynn urged that the Kremlin not get too riled up about U.S. sanctions that President Barack Obama had just announced against Russia and to give Trump time to take office. That conversation, intercepted by U.S. intelligence, raised grave concerns about Russians’ secret and frequent contact with Trump allies and advisers during the campaign and before his inauguration.
But it is the call between Trump’s and Flynn’s lawyers which are of particular interest, in that it marks the first time Flynn’s cooperation with the special counsel’s office has been linked not only to investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, but with broader attempts by the president and his associates to interfere with Mueller’s investigation.
While Mueller’s team eventually demurred from actively recommending that Trump or any of his associates be charged with obstruction of justice, the release of the voicemail transcript—which Judge Sullivan ordered be made public by May 31—could provide the most concrete public example of the lengths the president and his allies went to manipulate the investigation in their favor—examples of which Mueller partially described in his final report, without publicly providing the underlying evidence.
During his Senate testimony earlier this month, Attorney General William Barr admitted to California Sen. Kamala Harris that he had not, in fact, reviewed all the underlying evidence gathered by Mueller before making his final decision to clear the president of any wrongdoing. Bit of an oversight, hmm?