The Flynn tapes

You may have read last week about newly unredacted files arising from Michael Flynn’s cooperation with the Special Counsel under his plea agreement. NBC News, for example, reports that “Flynn told investigators that people linked to the Trump administration and Congress reached out to him in an effort to interfere in the Russia probe[.]”

NBC News quotes from a newly unredacted portion of the government’s sentencing memo: “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’ve affected both his willingness to cooperate and the completeness of that cooperation,” says the newly revealed section of a sentencing memo originally filed in December.” NBC News added that “Flynn even provided a voicemail recording of one such communication, the court papers say.”

This was treated as news. CNN politics guru Chris Cillizza put it somewhat redundantly: “While news of the voicemail is new, it very much fits a pattern of clear concern — mixed with an attempt at care and feeding — from Trumpworld toward Flynn.”

These stories come from reporters who cover politics for a living, yet they don’t seem to know that the voicemail is quoted and discussed in Volume II of the Mueller Report: at page 200 in the executive summary, and then at pages 293-294 and 298-300. The voicemail message from President Trump’s (unnamed) personal attorney is quoted at page 294. The Special Counsel himself found the evidence of obstruction as to the president “inconclusive,” in part because of privilege issues (page 300).

You don’t have to dig too deeply into the Mueller Report to find this. It is all highlighted by section in the report’s table of contents and section headings. Cillizza et al. appear not to be familiar with the Mueller Report.

Although they may have missed it, there is real news in the Flynn case. Courtesy of the invaluable Twitter feed of Undercover Huber, we learned that Judge Sullivan has ordered the Special Counsel publicly to file all “transcripts of any other audio recordings of Mr. Flynn, including, but not limited to, audio recordings of Mr. Flynn’s conversations with Russian officials” — i.e., not just transcripts of conversations with the Russian ambassador, but all transcripts of all audio recordings.

Now that should get our attention. The Hill and a few others covered the orders, but it didn’t get the attention it deserves. (Did the Times get to it?) I don’t recall ever seeing anything like them in a criminal case that simply awaits sentencing.

UPDATE: Here is Judge Sullivan’s latest word on the Flynn tapes. Courtesy of our friend Mr. Fog, we learn that the Flynn tapes may or may not be coming soon. We shall see.

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