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Seth Abramson @SethAbramson
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(THREAD) What can we expect from the Flynn sentencing memo today—bombshells, or a more muted presentation? This thread considers some of the possibilities, and their consequences, as we close in on a major milestone in the Mueller investigation. I hope you'll read on and retweet.
1/ As with George Papadopoulos, Mueller only charged Flynn with 1 count of Making False Statements before he secured his cooperation on a host of Trump-Russia collusion-related issues that he *hadn't* charged. That means the amount of time Flynn can get in prison is very limited.
2/ That fact raises a question about how much it benefits Mueller to reveal the full extent of the information he received from Flynn. If he wanted Flynn to do the maximum amount of time on the one charge brought against him, he *could* put in all the inculpatory evidence he has.
3/ On the other hand, revealing certain evidence today could be harmful to indictments Mueller wants to issue tomorrow—perhaps against individuals "above" Flynn. So today presents Mueller with a complex balancing act of short- and long-term investigative and prosecutorial goals.
4/ The more Mueller reveals, the more the court learns that could lead it to harshly sentence Flynn on the one count against him. But the more Flynn cooperated, the more Mueller may be all right with some leniency, giving him the leeway to *not* reveal everything Flynn gave him.
5/ Mueller also could *redact* certain information, or otherwise get the court to place certain information under seal, allowing him to both present it to the court for consideration for a harsher sentencing while *also* keeping it from public view for the sake of future charges.
6/ So Mueller must balance all five of these considerations:

1. Flynn's level of cooperation.
2. His desired outcome in the Flynn sentencing.
3. The danger of current revelations to future cases.
4. The public's right/need to know.
5. His need to get info out before he's fired.
7/ Redactions can help Mueller craft the cost/benefit matrix this memo is. So too would alluding to certain conduct in terms that don't reveal all he has on that issue. So too would leaving out intel Flynn gave him that's not inculpatory as to Flynn but inculpatory as to others.
8/ In short, what we should look for, broadly, are signs of how cooperative and useful Mueller feels Flynn has been in the year since he entered a plea. Given that Flynn is at the heart of many of the allegations of collusion, if he's deemed *very* useful that tells us something.
9/ A danger for journalists and laypeople today is focusing on *just* the facts Mueller reveals and *not* the through-line of what kind of witness Flynn was broadly seen to be. If we focus just on those—possibly deliberately limited—facts, we could come to some wrong conclusions.
10/ In essence, today's memo can only *further* the case for collusion with any key facts it reveals. The chance that an *absence* of key facts (or simply fewer than we'd like to see) means conclusively that Flynn had little to offer the Mueller investigation is far smaller. /end
PS/ One thing I do want to emphasize, though, is that Flynn *is* one of the *key* witnesses in Mueller's collusion case. So its certainly true that if the case is what experts think it to be, Flynn's cooperation and testimony *is* crucial. Flynn's role in collusion was expansive.
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