A federal judge Tuesday abruptly postponed the sentencing of President Donald Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, declaring himself disgusted and disdainful of Flynn's crime of lying to the FBI and raising the unexpected prospect of sending the retired Army lieutenant general to prison.
As MSNBC's Ari Melber broke down the big takeaways from Michael Flynn's sentencing hearing today, he also noted that one thing the judge ended up doing was "destroy... a Trumpian-Hannity-Fox News set of conspiracy theories".
Flynn has since cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing probe into Moscow's alleged attempts to sway the 2016 election and possible Trump campaign collusion.
Judge Emmet Sullivan is reviewing Michael Flynn's acknowledgments that he was wrong in his actions and takes responsibility, and also describes how Flynn made note of the circumstances of the interview in the White House.
"Arguably, you sold your country out", Sullivan said at one point during Flynn's sentencing.
But none of those men helped investigators as broadly, willingly or sincerely as Flynn, Mueller's team has said. Flynn said that memo notwithstanding, he was ready to proceed with sentencing.
But Sullivan noted that Flynn had already avoided charges of violating laws on interference with U.S. foreign policy and had skirted being included in Monday's indictment of two Flynn business partners for illegally working for Turkey. Almost a half-dozen former aides and advisers - including Flynn - have pleaded guilty or agreed to co-operate with prosecutors.More news: No Davis trade: Pelicans coach accuses LeBron of tampering
According to Yahoo News, Judge Emmet Sullivan "ordered the 302 placed on the public docket" because "Flynn's legal team raised the question in their sentencing memo to the judge of whether Federal Bureau of Investigation agents tried to lay a perjury trap on Flynn". The judge - who has a well-deserved reputation as both tough and fair - made several fundamental errors right at the outset.
This was flat out wrong, since Flynn stopped working for any foreign government before he became President Trump's national security adviser when Trump took office on January 20, 2017. The possibility of prison had seemed remote for Flynn, who was smiling and upbeat as he entered the courtroom, since prosecutors had praised his extensive co-operation and didn't recommend any time behind bars.
Flynn told investigators in January 2017 that he had not discussed USA sanctions against Russian Federation with Kislyak, when in fact he had, according to his plea agreement. After a brief recess, Flynn, looking subdued and a little stunned, returned with his answer: he would take the delay and thereby possibly avoid a harsher sentence.
Cicilline, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said on Outnumbered Overtime that the judge "put to rest" the notion Flynn "stumbled in" to his crime.
Before the delay, Flynn acknowledged he was aware lying to FBI investigators was a crime when he was interviewed back in January 2017.
A group of protesters, including some who chanted "Lock him up", gathered outside the courthouse on Tuesday, along with a large inflatable rat fashioned to look like Trump.
But those plans seemingly went awry after Sullivan lambasted Flynn for lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and for working as an unregistered foreign agent of Turkey.