Unsealed Documents Reveal New Details On Michael Flynn's Cooperation With Mueller
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
We're learning new details this evening about the Mueller investigation. Former national security adviser Michael Flynn told special counsel Robert Mueller's team that people connected to the Trump administration and Congress tried to influence him as he cooperated with the investigation. This information comes tonight in newly unsealed documents out of a federal court in Washington, D.C. The judge in that court has also ordered that some portions of the Mueller report be unredacted and released publicly by the end of May.
NPR national security editor Phil Ewing is on the line with us now. And Phil, to start, what more did we learn about what Michael Flynn told the Mueller team?
PHIL EWING, BYLINE: Well, it's very interesting, Audie. Apparently the former national security adviser in these interviews with prosecutors told them that he had been contacted by people with the White House or with Congress, presumably supporters of the president. And those conversations could have had an effect on his cooperation with investigators and how much he cooperated with investigators. We don't know many more details beyond that.
But what these court documents do describe are voicemails - at least one voicemail from someone to Flynn which he gave to the Justice Department as evidence of this outreach from the president's allies at the time he was cooperating with investigators. This order from federal Judge Emmet Sullivan also says that a transcript of that voicemail and other materials from this part of the investigation has to be made public, so we could learn more by the end of the month about who was reaching out to Flynn and what they were saying to him.
CORNISH: What's significant about this moment?
EWING: It's significant because there's a lot of detail about the Mueller investigation that we still don't know. The report itself was redacted. We've talked a lot about all the black lines through the report with respect to the Russian interference in the election, with the things that investigators discovered. And the judge in this case has ordered that a portion of this material be released publicly. So we'll see what's behind those black lines in the parts of the document that pertain to Mike Flynn, and that'll be interesting clearly because everyone wants to understand as much of this story as possible, and every little piece of that helps us put a little bit more of the puzzle together.
CORNISH: Also this note about the judge ordering some of the report to be unredacted - what could that mean for Democrats' effort to get the full report released?
EWING: It could have big implications politically. The House Judiciary Committee led by Chairman Jerry Nadler, the Democrat of New York, is in a big war with the Justice Department over these redacted portions of the Mueller report. And if in fact the Justice Department complies with this court order - we don't know whether it might ask the judge for more time or for an exception or something - then it will have established that precedent for a judge to order the Justice Department to reveal this material.
That's what Jerry Nadler and his colleagues want to happen eventually. They may take a vote in the near future to hold the attorney general in contempt of Congress in furtherance of this goal to try to get that redacted material. If they can get it, that'll be a big deal for them, and we'll learn more about what the Justice Department discovered as part of this Russia investigation.
CORNISH: That's NPR's Phil Ewing. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.