Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn appears to be cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation of President Trump.
On Thursday evening, the New York Times reported that Flynn’s attorneys have ceased all communication with Trump’s legal team, which strongly suggests he’s accepted a plea deal with Mueller’s team in exchange for information about other high-profile defendants in the probe. The news is not entirely unexpected, as Flynn previously requested immunity from the Senate Intelligence Committee (and was refused) in exchange for his testimony last March.
As the Times reported, a sudden end to communications between the two legal teams typically means an agreement has been reached with the prosecution. Once such an agreement has become official, continued communication would constitute a conflict of interest, so an end to the communications agreement between Trump and Flynn — particularly when it’s been known that Mueller has enough evidence to indict both Flynn and his son — could mean Flynn has made a deal with the special counsel.
Flynn, who served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency between 2012 and 2014 under former President Barack Obama before becoming the Trump White House’s top national security official, suddenly resigned in February amid reports he had unauthorized contact with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. At the time of the conversation between Flynn and Kislyak, which was believed to be about the lifting of economic sanctions, Obama was still in the lame duck phase of his presidency.
If Michael Flynn is cooperating, he would be the second Trump confidant to have flipped on the president, with former foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos cooperating following a guilty plea last summer. Flynn’s cooperation, however, could lead to even more incriminating evidence against those close to Trump, given his close relationship with the president — both as a top campaign adviser and in the White House.
Matthew P. Robbins is a freelance economics contributor covering wages, budgets, and taxes. He lives in Chicago, Illinois with his husband and two cats.