Former Donald Trump adviser Michael Flynn offers 'substantial' cooperation to Robert Mueller

Michael Cohen's lawyers ask for no prison time

In a series of tweets on Monday, Trump accused Cohen of co-operating with federal prosecutors in the Russian Federation probe in exchange for a reduced sentence on unrelated tax fraud and campaign finance charges. Authorities say some of Flynn's help may not have yet borne fruit but they've asked a judge to sentence him anyway as had been planned on December 18.

Special counsel Robert Mueller, who has been investigating Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, is reportedly just "tying up loose ends" before revealing his findings from the 19-month long probe.

Last year, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about communications he had with a Russian official about sanctions during the presidential transition, and Flynn has since been cooperating with Mueller's probe.

Federal sentencing guidelines recommend between zero and six months in prison for Flynn, leaving open the possibility of probation. The plea deal said Flynn's cooperation may include answering questions, taking government-administered polygraph examinations, providing sworn statements and participating in "covert law enforcement activities".

As Mueller is expected to be close to the end of his investigation, the president has doubled down on his attacks of the probe, which he has repeatedly referred to as a "witch hunt". Russian Federation denies interfering in the U.S. election.

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Under a plea bargain deal, Flynn admitted in a Washington court that he lied when asked by FBI investigators about conversations with Kislyak just weeks before Trump took office. Most notably, Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, aggressively fought the investigation and is now facing the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence after his cooperation agreement recently fell apart over allegations that he had lied to investigators.

Several lawyers said Trump's tweet amounted to witness tampering.

The Republican president has refused to rule out a pardon for Manafort.

On Monday, Trump praised longtime associate Roger Stone, who has been under scrutiny by investigators over his comments about leaked Democratic emails during the presidential campaign. CNN's Manu Raju observed that Trump is offering a "big signal here" that he could pardon Stone and is "encouraging him not to cooperate". Nice to know that some people still have "guts!"'

Legal experts said Trump was empowering the obstruction of justice case against him by using the power of his position to influence witnesses. The party's leadership has promised to vigorously pursue areas of investigation into Trump's finances and Trump team contacts with foreign actors, having accused the Republicans of choosing party loyalty over proper oversight the past two years. The president and his attorneys also have since taken the position that Trump has broad powers under the Constitution to hire and fire virtually anyone he wants within the executive branch, for any reason.

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