WASHINGTON (TNS) — The legal team for former national security adviser Michael Flynn has stopped sharing information with President Donald Trump's lawyers about the special counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, said two people familiar with the probe.
The move signals that Flynn, who was fired by the president in February, may be in discussions of some kind with special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between Trump associates and Russia. The people who confirmed the decision by Flynn's lawyers did so on condition of anonymity.
The pre-Thanksgiving notification by Flynn's legal team, reported earlier by The New York Times, has been anticipated by the president's team for weeks and doesn't necessarily mean Flynn holds any information damaging to the president. A lawyer for Flynn declined to comment Thursday, as did lawyers for the president.
Flynn initially drew scrutiny for a secret meeting that he and Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, had with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak of Russia last December in Trump Tower. FBI agents later asked Flynn in January whether he had talked with Kislyak about sanctions imposed by President Barack Obama in retaliation for Russia's election meddling.
Flynn, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general who was a top adviser to Trump's presidential campaign, was forced to resign from his position as White House national security adviser just weeks into the presidency. Administration officials said Flynn misled Vice President Mike Pence about the content of his calls with the Russian ambassador during the transition.
He has since become a focus of an investigation by Mueller into whether the campaign had any links with Russian attempts to interfere with the 2016 election. Democrats have previously raised questions about Flynn's contacts with the Russian government before the campaign.
Flynn has since come under scrutiny for failure to report income from Russian sources and questions about the nature of his paid work for Turkey, including during the presidential campaign. His son, who worked for him, also has come under legal examination.
"None of this means there's any action or discussions adverse to the president's interests," Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said. Ty Cobb, a White House lawyer, declined to comment other than to say the White House is not interfering in the special counsel's investigation.
Mueller last month unveiled the first indictments resulting from his investigation. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and inaugural planner Rick Gates were charged on multiple counts of money laundering and illegal foreign lobbying. A foreign policy adviser to Trump's campaign, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty Oct. 5 to lying to investigators in a document that was made public the same day Manafort and Gates were charged.