Michael Flynn might be cooperating with Mueller in the Russia investigation — but not necessarily

Michael Flynn might be cooperating with Mueller in the Russia investigation — but not necessarily
Michael Flynn's lawyers have stopped sharing information about the Russia investigation with President Trump's lawyers. (George Frey/Getty Images)

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s lawyers have reportedly stopped sharing information with President Donald Trump’s legal team about Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion during the 2016 election.

This story was first reported by the New York Times on Thursday, citing “four people involved with the case” who spoke anonymously because they were “not authorized to discuss it publicly.”

Why would the lawyers stop sharing information?

Defense lawyers have to stop sharing information about an investigation when doing so would be a conflict of interest.

One reason it could become a conflict of interest to share information with other defense lawyers is if one client begins cooperating with prosecutors while others are still being investigated.

So, there is a possibility that Flynn is either cooperating with Mueller or that he is in negotiations to do so. But, if he is only negotiating, that doesn’t guarantee eventual cooperation.

Did Trump’s legal team comment?

One of Trump’s lawyers, Jay Sekulow, cautioned against jumping to conclusions.

“No one should draw the conclusion that this means anything about General Flynn cooperating against the president,” Sekulow said to CNN.

Sekulow reportedly said the development was “not entirely unexpected.”

Flynn’s significance

Flynn is a retired three-star general who worked on Trump’s campaign and served as the president’s national security adviser at the beginning of his term.

He was forced out of office after a less than a month after misleading Vice President Mike Pence and others about the nature of conversations he had with a Russian ambassador.

Flynn also reportedly failed to list payments from Russian entities on financial disclosure forms, and didn’t mention a paid speech he gave in Moscow.

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