If you lie to a US Federal agent, they can bust you, and my understanding is that judges like to sentence those convicted of this by juries to jail for long periods of time. But, if you are charged with this crime and plea guilty, so there is no jury trial, then there is room to negotiate.
Note that FBI agents know how to make sure prosecution will get a conviction. They write everything down carefully, have witnesses, etc. So, if they ask you a question and you lie, you are now in the process. It is just a matter of time until you are signing a plea agreement.
Michael Flynn, perhaps owing to hubris, perhaps owing to fear, perhaps owing to sub-average intelligence, perhaps to a combination, managed to lie, apparently multiple times, to FBI agents.
Unlike most of the other characters in the Trump-Russia scandal, Flynn has been more involved in Turkish shenanigans than Russian, but the charges going down today do relate to Russia.
He is charged with lying about his interactions with the Russian ambassador to the US about sanctions, and about a pending UN Security Council resolution related to Russia.
Here is the charging document:
Case Document 1 Filed 11/30/17 Page 1 of 2
UNITED STATES DISTRICT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Criminal N0.:
-Violation: 18 U.S.C. 1001 (False
MICHAEL T. LYNN,
The Special Counsel informs the Court: Case:
Assigned To Judge Contreras, Rudolph
QM Assign. Date: 1113012017
(False Statements) Description: INFORMATION (A)
On or about January 24, 2017, defendant MICHAEL T. FLYNN did willfully and knowingly make materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and representations in a matter within the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the Government of the United States, to wit, the defendant falsely stated and represented to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in Washington, DC, that:
(i) On or about December 29, 2016, FLYNN did not ask the Government of Russia’s Ambassador to the United States (“Russian Ambassador”) to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day; and did not recall the Russian Ambassador subsequently telling him that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those Sanctions as a result of his request; and
(ii) On or about December 22, 2016, did not ask the Russian Ambassador to delay the vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution; and that the Russian Ambassador subsequently never described Russia’s response to his request.
(Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001(a)(2))
ROBERT S. MUELLER, 111
The penalty for that crime can be five years in prison. Two counts, that could be ten years in prison. Likely, a plea will result in some months in prison, or zero time. So, he’s looking at ten years vs. a walk in the park, but only if he is totally forthcoming about all he knows. All. He. Knows.