The Department of Justice on Tuesday recommended former national security adviser Michael Flynn be sentenced to up to six months in prison for lying to the FBI during the Russia investigation after initially recommending that he serve no jail time in recognition of his cooperation.
The FBI launched the investigation based on allegations that the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russian operatives to sway the 2016 elections. The Mueller report eventually found insufficient evidence to conclude that such collusion took place.
“The sentence should adequately deter the defendant from violating the law, and to promote respect for the law,” the Justice Department said in a sentencing memo. “It is clear that the defendant has not learned his lesson. He has behaved as though the law does not apply to him, and as if there are no consequences for his actions.”
Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 of lying to the FBI regarding his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn had alleged in October that the FBI had tampered with notes from an interview between him and FBI agents, but Flynn’s appeal to overturn his guilty plea was rejected in December.
The two agents who interviewed Flynn were Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka. The case took a turn in November when the FBI admitted it had identified Strzok’s notes taken during the interviews as Pientka’s, and Pientka’s as Strzok’s.
Strzok, who also worked on the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to read classified material, was ousted from the FBI after text messages between Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page surfaced that showed an anti-Trump bias.
“Your excessive, repeated, and politically charged text messages while you were assigned as the lead case agent on the FBI’s two biggest and most politically sensitive investigations in decades, demonstrated a gross lack of professionalism and exceptionally poor judgement,” read documents from the Justice Department excoriating Strzok. “Your misconduct has cast a pall over the FBI’s Clinton Email and Russia investigations and the work of the Special Counsel.”