Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Tuesday delayed the sentencing of former national security adviser Michael Flynn for a second time “due to the status” of the investigation, raising questions as to what the development means for the direction of the Russian election-meddling probe.
“Due to the status of the special counsel’s investigation, the parties do not believe that this matter is ready to be scheduled for a sentencing hearing at this time,” Mueller's team and Flynn attorneys Robert Kelner and Stephen Anthony wrote.
On Feb. 1, both sides filed a first “joint status report” to federal Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, requesting more time.
Sullivan gave them a 90-day deadline (by May 1) to submit an updated status report or a sentencing date.
Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to making false statements to the FBI.
Following his plea, Flynn agreed to “cooperate fully, truthfully, completely and forthrightly” with the investigation, with sentencing delayed until those efforts “have been completed.”
There has been monthslong speculation that Flynn was cooperating with Mueller’s team and offering information. He said as much at the time of his plea.
“My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel’s Office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country,” Flynn said in December. “I accept full responsibility for my actions.”
The initial delay was a curious development in the proceedings. Days after accepting his guilty plea, the judge assigned to the case, Judge Rudolph Contreras of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, recused himself from the case and was replaced by Judge Sullivan.
But in a newly released House Intelligence Committee report concluding its Russia investigation, the findings seemed to back up reports that FBI agents did not think Flynn lied to them — despite his eventual guilty plea to making false statements.
Among the 44 findings in the report was a line stating that “Federal Bureau of Investigation agents did not detect any deception during Flynn’s interview.”
The report, heavily redacted, provides virtually no public information to back up the committee’s conclusion about Flynn’s interactions with FBI agents. The public portion of the report does not make clear whether the information came from former FBI Director James Comey or another source.
Comey, though, denied that he ever told lawmakers agents didn’t believe Flynn had lied.
“No,” Comey said in an interview on “Special Report.” “I saw that in the media. … Maybe someone misunderstood something I said. I didn’t believe that. I didn’t say that.”
Flynn lost his job at the White House over Russia contacts, and as recently as December, even President Donald Trump claimed that Flynn had “lied” to agents.
But last week, Trump defended Flynn as he castigated Comey, saying Flynn’s life has been “totally destroyed” while “shadey” James Comey can “leak and lie” and make “lots of money” from his newly released memoir, “A Higher Loyalty.”
Fox News' Judson Berger and Jake Gibson contributed to this report.