Information in the sentencing document for General Michael Flynn should give President Donald Trump cause for concern, according to CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
In documents filed Tuesday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller recommended that Flynn face no jail time for lying to the FBI over his contact with the Russian ambassador during and after the 2016 presidential election campaign.
Mueller said that Flynn had provided “substantial assistance” to his probe into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, heavily redacting specific details of Flynn’s cooperation.
Speaking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper Tuesday night, Toobin reviewed the document, homing in on a section where Mueller writes: “The defendant’s record of military and public service distinguish him from every other person who has been charged as part the [sic] SCO’s investigation. However, senior government leaders should be held to the highest standards.”
Toobin said the second sentence could be a significant indication of “how Mueller is going to characterize what went on in the Trump White House.”
He continued: “The fact that he is saying ‘senior government leaders should be held to the highest standards.’ I would be a little nervous if I were the people involved in the obstruction of justice investigation, starting, of course, with the president of the United States.”
For Toobin, the sentence is an indication of “how Mueller is going to approach the remainder of his investigation as he starts thinking about the people in the White House.”
Mueller’s two-part sentencing memo says that Flynn had given investigators first-hand accounts of “interactions between individuals in the presidential transition team and Russia.”
According to the memo, Flynn provided assistance in three ongoing investigations, details of which were heavily redacted.
A former national security adviser to the president, Flynn was sacked soon after Trump took office and pleaded guilty to one charge of lying to the FBI in December 2017
In recent days speculation has focused on the extent to which Donald Trump is likely to be embroiled in crimes investigated by Mueller.
The question of whether a sitting president can be indicted for crimes is one which has divided constitutional and legal experts, with the Justice Department ruling in a 2000 memo that indictment is unconstitutional.
Under powers granted to them by the Justice Department, special counsels can seek special permission from the investigation’s supervising attorney to indict a president.