Judge Emmet Sullivan expressed “disdain” and “disgust” for Flynn’s crimes and, despite the government’s request for leniency, postponed a status hearing until March.
Lawyers for retired General Michael Flynn had every reason to celebrate. They managed to get their client—who lobbied against U.S. interests while serving as a top Donald Trump–campaign surrogate; tried to undermine the Barack Obama administration’s Russia policy while still a private citizen; and, as a sitting national-security adviser, worked to conceal it all from the Justice Department—a recommendation of no jail time from the government. But they appeared to have made a last-minute miscalculation that put Flynn’s potential lenient sentence in doubt.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating a potential conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, appeared to let Flynn off the hook for his crimes in exchange for his cooperation in the Russia probe and an investigation into illegal lobbying for the Turkish government that is being conducted out of the Eastern District of Virginia. Flynn is also cooperating in a third investigation, the nature of which remains unknown. Indeed, before Tuesday’s hearing, it had appeared all but certain that Flynn’s decision to assist the government early and fully would spare him jail time. But that leniency apparently wasn’t enough for Flynn’s lawyers.