World

Flynn stops talking to Trump's lawyers

Former security adviser may now be cooperating with Special Counsel Mueller

WASHINGTON: Lawyers for Mr Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, have told Mr Trump's legal team they can no longer discuss a probe into Russian meddling in the US election, indicating he may be cooperating with the investigation, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

Mr Flynn, a retired Army general, is a central figure in a federal investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into whether Mr Trump aides colluded with Russia during his 2016 presidential campaign.

In January, US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia interfered in the election to try to help Mr Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton by hacking and releasing embarrassing e-mails and disseminating propaganda via social media to discredit her.

Mr Flynn's lawyer and a spokesman for Mr Mueller declined to comment on Thursday.

Mr Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Mr Trump, said: "No one should draw the conclusion that this means anything about General Flynn cooperating against the president."

The Times reported that Mr Flynn's lawyers had been sharing information with Mr Trump's legal team about the Mueller investigation.

Citing four unnamed people involved in the case, the newspaper reported the cooperation agreement had ended.

Due to rules that aim to prevent conflicts of interest when lawyers represent clients, the move by Mr Flynn's lawyers to stop communicating with Mr Trump's lawyers indicated Mr Flynn was now cooperating with Mr Mueller, the Times said, adding that, in itself was not proof. However, the development has led Mr Trump's lawyers to believe that Mr Flynn has begun discussions with Mr Mueller about cooperating, according to the Times.

Mr Flynn served 24 days as Trump's national security adviser but was fired after it was discovered he had misrepresented his contacts with a Russian diplomat to Vice-President Mike Pence.

Mr Mueller's inquiry is looking into Mr Flynn's paid work as a lobbyist for a Turkish businessman last year, in addition to contacts between Russian officials and Mr Flynn and other Trump associates during and after the Nov 8 presidential election, Reuters reported in June. - REUTERS

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