A U.S. judge in Washington on Tuesday sternly rebuked President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, for lying to investigators about his contacts with Russia in the weeks before Trump assumed power in early 2017, but delayed his sentencing.
“I can’t hide my disgust, my disdain,” U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said of Flynn’s behavior, before later acceding to a request by Flynn’s lawyers to postpone his sentencing.
Flynn acknowledged to Sullivan, “I was aware,” that it was a crime to lie to interrogators when they asked him about his discussions with Russia’s then-ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak.
The judge told Flynn that his offense was “very serious” and that “arguably, you sold your country out.”
Special counsel Robert Mueller had recommended the 60-year-old Flynn, a retired Army general and once head of the country’s Defense Intelligence Agency, not be sentenced to any prison time because he had provided “substantial” cooperation with prosecutors in their ongoing 19-month investigation of Trump 2016 campaign links with Russia and whether, as president, Trump obstructed justice by trying to thwart the probe.
But Sullivan said he could not guarantee that Flynn will avoid a prison term when he is eventually sentenced, sometime in the months to come.
Flynn was set to be the first Trump administration official to be sentenced in the Mueller probe.
Last week, Trump’s former attorney, New York lawyer Michael Cohen, was sentenced to three years in prison, in part for his role, in what he said was at Trump’s direction, of making $280,000 in payments shortly before the election to buy the silence of two women who allegedly had affairs with the future president a decade before he entered politics.
Others in Trump’s orbit are awaiting sentencing for various other offenses.
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Photo “Michael Flynn” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.