Attorneys representing Michael Flynn have informed President Donald Trump’s lawyers that they intend to stop sharing information concerning Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into improper Russian influence during the 2016 presidential election.
The notification likely signals that Flynn, a retired three-star general who served briefly as Trump’s national security adviser, is negotiating a deal to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation, according to a Thanksgiving Day report by The New York Times.
Prior to the notification, attorneys representing Flynn had been sharing information related to the investigation with other lawyers who represent other people Mueller is investigating.
Flynn’s legal team cannot share information with other attorneys — and tend to stop sharing information — when there is a conflict of interest. Such a conflict of interest would occur when one criminal defendant or potential criminal defendant agrees to cooperate with investigators.
The Times cites four unnamed sources for its report that Flynn has agreed — or is close to agreeing — to cooperate with Mueller’s Russia investigation.
There has been no announcement that Flynn is cooperating. Negotiations to obtain cooperation — to whatever extent they exist — may collapse before any agreement between Mueller’s team and Flynn’s team becomes formalized.
Attorneys representing Trump believe the notification to cease communication means cooperation is likely, the Times notes.
Many observers believe Flynn and his son, Michael G. Flynn, face the possibility of substantial criminal indictments.
Mueller appears to be have spent substantial time investigation Flynn’s work on behalf of the Turkish government. Investigators reportedly believe Flynn may have been involved in laundering money and may have lied to federal agents
Trump’s attorneys have said that any crimes for which Flynn may be indicted do not involve Trump.
“He likes General Flynn personally, but understands that they have their own path with the special counsel,” White House attorney Ty Cobb told the Times in October. “I think he would be sad for them, as a friend and a former colleague, if the process results in punishment or indictments. But to the extent that that happens, that’s beyond his control.”
Mueller has already issued indictments against three individuals related to Trump and his 2016 presidential campaign: former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, campaign chairman Rick Gates and one-time foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos.
Earlier this month, reports indicated that Mueller believed he had enough evidence to bring charges in the investigation of Flynn. At that time, unidentified sources said Mueller was pressuring Flynn after issuing an indictment against Manafort. (RELATED: Mueller’s Michael Flynn Investigation Is Heating Up)
Trump picked Flynn as national security adviser on Nov. 18, 2016. Flynn was fired from the position on Feb. 13, just 24 days into the job. The White House claimed he was fired for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about conservations he had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.