Trump Russia probe: Michael Flynn′s lawyers sever ties with president | News | DW | 24.11.2017
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Trump Russia probe: Michael Flynn's lawyers sever ties with president

Lawyers for disgraced ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn have said that they will no longer communicate with the White House. The move signals that Flynn may be cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller.

The legal team of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has told US President Donald Trump's lawyers that there will no longer be communication about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling, US media outlets reported on Friday.

According to the New York Times, this likely meant that Flynn is cooperating with Mueller against the president. While lawyers for criminal defendants often share information, such cooperation becomes unethical once one side starts pursuing a deal with prosecutors.

An attorney for the president, however, insisted that Flynn was not necessarily working against Trump.

"No one should draw the conclusion that this means anything about General Flynn cooperating against the president," said lawyer Jay Sekulow.

Lies about Russia ties

Flynn resigned in disgrace as national security adviser in February after only 24 days – the shortest tenure in the 63-year history of the post.

The retired army general was forced to step down after the Trump administration concluded that he had misled them about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak, during the transition between the 2016 election and Trump taking office.

After he was interviewed by the FBI in January, then-deputy Attorney General Sally Yates advised the White House that Flynn had been dishonest in his public assertions that he had not discussed economic sanctions against Russia with Kislyak.

Despite the warning from Yates, Trump did not make a move against Flynn for another month.

Flynn's lobbying work under scrutiny

On top of investigating his ties to Russian officials, Mueller has also been scrutinizing Flynn's $530,000 (€447,000) worth of lobbying work for a Turkish businessman during the final months of the 2016 election campaign. Flynn had been hired to gather incriminating information on Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Gulen, a permanent resident of the United States, is a longtime critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan has blamed Gulen for a failed coup attempt in July 2016, a charge the cleric categorically denies.

FBI agents working for Mueller are trying to determine if the Turkish government was calling the shots on that lobbying campaign, rather than Flynn's now-defunct private firm.

es/rt (AP, Reuters)

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