On December 29th, 2016, Michael Flynn received a phone call (that was surveilled by the FBI) while on vacation in the Dominican Republic from Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that would change his life forever.
Over the course of the next year Flynn would end up pleading guilty to charges of lying to the FBI about the contents of his conversation with Kislyak, but only after racking up millions of dollars in legal fees. Most strange, the FBI’s leadership at the time couldn’t seem to point to any actual wrongdoing from Flynn.. While we were told that Flynn lied to the FBI about discussing sanctions with Kislyak, when Flynn was interviewed by two FBI agents months after the Kislyak call, neither thought that Flynn was being untruthful about his account of the conversation. Similarly, James Comey did not believe Flynn was lying.
So how did Flynn wind up in this mess then, when those he supposedly lied to say over wise? That remains a mystery – as do the exact contents of his call with Flynn, which the Justice Department and their prosecutors are doing everything they can to refuse to release. If that call contained the evidence of Flynn’s guilt, wouldn’t you think they’d be happy to release it?
According to Sara Carter:
Knowing exactly what was said could be a game changer. Prosecutors don’t want that to happen. In fact, they argue that the transcripts aren’t essential to Flynn’s prosecution, in which he has already pleaded guilty. Joshua Geltzer, a former Justice Department official told the New York Times, Sunday that intelligence collection “would be a rare step to make public.” “What you see in today’s filing is the government trying to avoid disclosing that material,” he said.
U.S. intelligence officials previously leaked the contents of the Flynn/Kislyak call to the Washington Post’s David Ignatius, who broke the story on the call. It’s impossible to argue the call contains information unsuitable for release to the general public if it could be leaked to Ignatius.
Federal District Court of Columbia Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered prosecutors in May to turn over the transcript of the recording, which still has not been provided.
Sullivan’s order was rebuffed by the prosecution. Prosecutors did, however, release the full transcripts of a voicemail message left by Trump’s former lawyer John Dowd to Flynn’s lawyer Robert Kelner. They were formerly released by a court order and it appeared to tell a significantly different story than the one portrayed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
Prosecutors made it appear in the Special Counsel’s report that Dowd was asking for a “heads up” if Flynn planned to say anything damaging about Trump and Mueller made it appear that he may have been obstructing. The full transcripts, however, revealed that Dowd was acting just as an attorney should and specifically stated that he did not want any classified or confidential information.
Both government sources and news reports suggest the audio transcript of the calls made by Flynn to Kislyak exist. Still, Special Counsel prosecutors suggest that “any other audio recordings” wouldn’t effect the purpose of establish guilt or determining the sentence of Flynn.
Just last Friday prosecutors said they aren’t relying on “any other recordings” than the one they won’t release…. even as they contradict themselves and say those transcripts aren’t “essential” to Flynn’s sentencing. According to the Addendum to the Government’s Memorandum in Aid of Sentencing: “The government further represents that it is not relying on any other recordings, of any person, for purposes of establishing the defendant’s guilt or determining his sentence, nor are there any other recordings that are part of the sentencing record.”
In other words, it is that single recorded conversation that’s central to their case.
Now we know why they won’t release it.