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The Latest: Judge orders Flynn to stay within 50 miles of DC

Published: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 @ 7:08 AM
Updated: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 @ 7:08 AM

The Latest on former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and the Russia investigation (all times local):

7:30 p.m.

Judge Emmet Sullivan is throwing another wrench into former national security adviser Michael Flynn's plans.

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Just hours after delaying Flynn's sentencing, Sullivan is now saying Flynn must stay within 50 miles of the District of Columbia come Jan. 4.

Flynn had been allowed to travel freely under the conditions laid out by another judge. But Sullivan says he only learned of that today. He is now requiring Flynn to get his permission before he travels outside that zone, as he typically does in such cases.

The order could cause some complications for Flynn, who has been living in Middletown, Rhode Island, near his family.

Sullivan says he is approving Flynn's already planned international travel but will also require him to surrender his passport in January.

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2:25 p.m.

The White House says it is not backing down from its criticism of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's interview of Mike Flynn, the former Trump national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the law enforcement agency.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is repeating her allegation that the FBI "ambushed" Flynn in an interview in which he denied contacts with Russian officials. Flynn later acknowledged having lied to investigators during the interview.

She says of the FBI criticism: "We don't have any reason to want to walk that back."

Sanders had no comment on a federal judge delaying Flynn's sentencing in the matter Tuesday, other than saying, "We wish General Flynn well."

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1:05 p.m.

A federal judge has agreed to delay former national security adviser Michael Flynn's sentencing so he can continue cooperating with the Russia probe.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan on Tuesday set a status conference for March.

Attorneys for Flynn asked the judge to postpone the sentencing. The stunning request came after Sullivan warned Flynn that if he were sentenced as scheduled Tuesday, he might not get all the credit for his cooperation with investigators that he is entitled to.

Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russia contacts. Prosecutors had recommended no prison time, citing his cooperation. But the judge's rebuke raised the prospect that Flynn could get a harsher sentence.

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12:15 p.m.

A federal judge has declared a recess until 12:30 p.m. at the sentencing hearing for former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said Tuesday that he "can't hide my disgust, my disdain" for this criminal offense.

Flynn pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI about his Russia contacts.

Prosecutors are not seeking any prison time for Flynn, citing extensive cooperation in the special counsel's Russia probe.

Sullivan said he'll take into account Flynn's service to the country and his cooperation, but will also factor in aggravating factors in deciding his sentence.

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12:05 p.m.

A federal judge is telling former national security adviser Michael Flynn that "arguably you sold your country out."

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan says he "can't hide my disgust, my disdain" for this criminal offense.

He says Flynn committed a "very serious offense" by lying to the FBI on the premises of the White House.

The judge is asking Flynn if he wants to postpone his sentencing so that he can get full credit for his cooperation.

He says he'll take into account Flynn's service to the country and his cooperation, but will also factor in aggravating factors in deciding his sentence.

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12:00 p.m.

The White House was still questioning the FBI's tactics in how it handled Michael Flynn's case shortly before President Donald Trump's former national security adviser's sentencing Tuesday.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders is claiming in an interview with Fox News that Flynn was "ambushed by investigators" and alleges the FBI "broke every standard protocol" and "went outside of the bounds and the scope of the way that they should operate" when they interviewed him in January 2017.

Flynn's lawyers have suggested that investigators discouraged him from having an attorney present and never informed him it was a crime to lie.

But Flynn told the judge at Tuesday's hearing that he did indeed know that it was a crime to lie to the FBI. He also said he didn't want to formally challenge the interview.

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11:55 a.m.

A prosecutor with special counsel Robert Mueller's office says it's possible that former national security adviser Michael Flynn may continue to cooperate going forward.

But prosecutor Brandon Van Grack told a judge at the sentencing hearing Tuesday that the government was ready to sentence Flynn because of the extensive cooperation he's already given, which includes help that led to a foreign lobbying indictment in Virginia that was made public a day earlier.

Van Grack did not elaborate on the type of investigations or issues that Flynn might be called upon to cooperate with in the future.

Normally, defendants are sentenced at the conclusion of their cooperation so that a judge can evaluate how much credit they deserve for helping the government.

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11:25 a.m.

A federal judge is making sure that former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn entered his guilty plea knowingly and voluntarily.

That's because of a defense memo in which Flynn said the FBI never warned him that it was against the law to lie to federal agents. He pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan is asking Flynn a series of questions Tuesday to make sure that Flynn wants to move forward with his sentencing hearing.

Flynn told the judge that he did indeed know that it was a crime to lie to the FBI. He also says he doesn't want to formally challenge the FBI's interview of him.

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10:15 a.m.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has arrived at the federal courthouse in Washington ahead of his sentencing hearing.

Flynn is to be sentenced at 11 a.m. on Tuesday for lying to the FBI about contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

He'll be the first White House official punished in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Prosecutors are not seeking any prison time for Flynn, citing extensive cooperation that has included 19 meetings with investigators.

The sentencing decision will be up to U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan.

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7:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump is wishing ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn "good luck" in court as Flynn awaits sentencing for lying to the FBI.

Trump tweeted hours before Flynn's sentencing Tuesday in federal court in Washington that it "will be interesting to see what he has to say, despite tremendous pressure being put on him, about Russian Collusion in our great and, obviously, highly successful political campaign." The president adds: "There was no Collusion!"

In another tweet, Trump again disparages the investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and Russia as a "Witch Hunt."

Flynn's lawyers have suggested investigators discouraged him from having an attorney present during a 2017 interview and didn't inform him lying is a crime, but prosecutors scoff at that argument.

Flynn has cooperated with the Russia investigation.

The special counsel's investigation has produced dozens of criminal charges and four guilty pleas from Trump associates.

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12:25 a.m.

Michael Flynn will likely walk out of a courtroom a free man due to his extensive cooperation with federal prosecutors, but the run-up to his sentencing Tuesday has exposed raw tensions over an FBI interview in which he lied about his Russian contacts.

Flynn has not tried to retract his guilty plea, and there's every indication the sentencing will proceed as scheduled.

Flynn's lawyers have suggested that investigators discouraged President Donald Trump's then-national security adviser from having an attorney present during the January 2017 interview and never informed him it was a crime to lie.

Prosecutors responded that Flynn didn't need to be warned it's a crime to lie to federal agents to know the importance of telling the truth.