STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Flynn Sentencing Postponed; White House Cries 'Ambush'

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.

Posted: Dec 18, 2018 11:50 AM
Updated: Dec 18, 2018 1:36 PM

By ERIC TUCKER and CHAD DAY , Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge abruptly postponed the sentencing of President Donald Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, on Tuesday, saying he could not hide his disgust for Flynn's crime of lying to the FBI and accusing him of selling out his country.

Lawyers for Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general who pleaded guilty last year to lying to the agency about his Russia contacts, requested the delay during a stunning hearing in which U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan gave Flynn a blistering rebuke.

"Arguably you sold your country out," Sullivan told Flynn, who was flanked by his attorneys.

The judge added: "I can't hide my disgust, my disdain."

Sullivan's harsh words raised the prospect that he could send Flynn to prison — an unexpected development since prosecutors have recommended against prison time, citing his cooperation in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.

The delay allows Flynn to continue cooperating with the Russia probe and get credit for it in his punishment.

The hearing came amid escalating legal peril for Trump, who was implicated by federal prosecutors in New York this month in hush-money payments to cover up extramarital affairs. Nearly a half-dozen former aides and advisers — including Flynn — have pleaded guilty or agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Flynn became known during the Trump presidential campaign for leading chants of "Lock her up" during rallies, referring to Trump's rival Hillary Clinton.

Trump signaled his continued close interest in the case by tweeting "good luck" to Flynn hours before the sentencing hearing. He added: "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. There was no Collusion!"

At the White House afterward, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked if the administration had changed its stance on Flynn or the FBI in light of his admissions and guilty plea.

"Maybe he did do those things, but it doesn't have anything to do with the president," she said. "It's perfectly acceptable for the president to make a positive comment about somebody while we wait to see what the court's determination is."

Sanders repeated her allegation that the FBI "ambushed" Flynn in an interview in which he denied contacts with Russian officials, and she said of Trump's earlier criticism, "We don't have any reason to want to walk that back."

The new delay in sentencing upset what had been a carefully crafted agreement, with Mueller's office saying Flynn had already provided "the vast majority" of information he could.

Flynn, who served as national security adviser for only a few weeks, was to be the first White House official sentenced in Mueller's investigation. Prosecutors had praised his cooperation and recommended against prison, and Tuesday's sentencing was expected to be relatively straightforward. Flynn had expected to walk out the courthouse a free man.

But the hearing turned on a dime. Sullivan lambasted Flynn for lying to the FBI in the West Wing of the White House and said he wouldn't allow Flynn to minimize the seriousness of his crime.

After a prosecutor raised the prospect of Flynn's continued cooperation with other investigations in the future, Sullivan warned Flynn that he might not get the full credit for his assistance to the government if he were sentenced as scheduled.

Prosecutors noted that Flynn had provided the "vast majority of his cooperation" already. But Sullivan gave a visibly shaken Flynn a chance to discuss a delay of the hearing with his lawyers, and the court went into a brief recess.

When they returned, Flynn lawyer Robert Kelner defended Flynn's cooperation but requested a postponement to allow for him to keep cooperating. Kelner said he expected Flynn would have to testify in a related trial in Virginia involving Flynn's former business associates, and the defense wanted to "eke out the last modicum of cooperation" so he could get credit in any sentence.

Kelner asked Sullivan not to penalize Flynn for arguments his lawyers made in sentencing memos that appeared to suggest the FBI had tricked Flynn into lying. He said they only included those to differentiate Flynn from other defendants in the case who had received short prison sentences for lying.

But Sullivan fired back.

"Neither of those individuals were a high-ranking official who committed a crime while in the West Wing and on the premises of the White House," the judge said.

At the hearing, Sullivan told Flynn that he would take into account his extensive cooperation with the government, which includes 19 meetings with investigators as well as a 33-year military career that included service in Iraq and Afghanistan. But he also said he was forced to weigh other factors, including Flynn's decision as national security adviser to lie to the FBI about contacts he had with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

The judge set a new hearing date for March. Flynn left the courthouse hand-in-hand with his wife, climbing into a large, black SUV as protesters heckled and supporters chanted "USA!"

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 20224

Reported Deaths: 339
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah465393
Washington294324
Marion278968
Umatilla216726
Clackamas148438
Malheur73412
Deschutes5678
Lane5523
Jackson4371
Yamhill41312
Lincoln4119
Union3922
Jefferson3413
Morrow3293
Polk30112
Linn26510
Klamath2001
Hood River1780
Wasco1783
Benton1616
Douglas1451
Josephine1102
Columbia900
Coos900
Clatsop830
Crook431
Baker370
Tillamook340
Lake320
Wallowa191
Sherman150
Curry140
Harney100
Gilliam40
Grant30
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 541339

Reported Deaths: 10021
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2012004869
Riverside39741770
Orange38711697
San Bernardino34635490
San Diego31127583
Kern21724152
Fresno16625157
Alameda12884206
San Joaquin12119192
Santa Clara11336196
Sacramento10544155
Tulare10334196
Imperial9601240
Stanislaus9408151
Contra Costa8532134
Ventura795379
San Francisco722863
Santa Barbara665268
San Mateo5891120
Marin519978
Monterey512035
Merced485562
Kings445356
Solano395939
Sonoma320842
Madera220836
San Luis Obispo204716
Placer203920
Yolo166042
Santa Cruz12134
Butte10608
Napa10259
Sutter8936
El Dorado7161
San Benito6994
Lassen6330
Yuba5724
Shasta4119
Mendocino36310
Colusa3614
Glenn3523
Nevada3211
Humboldt2804
Tehama2711
Lake2122
Amador1560
Mono1531
Tuolumne1472
Calaveras1361
Del Norte900
Siskiyou900
Inyo841
Mariposa602
Plumas340
Trinity50
Modoc40
Sierra30
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 80°
Brookings
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 76°
Crater Lake
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 75°
Grants Pass
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 77°
Klamath Falls
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 75°
Sunny and warm summer weekend
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events