President Donald Trump wished his first national security advisor Michael Flynn "good luck" Tuesday, hours before the disgraced lieutentant general was due to be sentenced for lying to the FBI about his post-election talks with Russia's ambassador.
Trump's best wishes for Flynn came with yet another claim by the president that his campaign did not collude with Russian agents in their widespread efforts to influence the outcome of the 2016 election that sent Trump to the White House.
Flynn already was expected Tuesday to have some good luck even before Trump's tweet in support of him, and even despite a recent dispute with special counsel Robert Mueller.
There is good reason to believe that Flynn will get a light punishment in U.S. District Court in Washington.
More than a year after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI and agreeing to cooperate withMueller's investigation, Flynn and his lawyers will make their final pitch Tuesday morning to keep the retired Army officer out of jail.
In a presentence memo filed to Judge Emmet Sullivan, Flynn's lawyers requested he get just one year's probation with minimal supervision, along with 200 hours of community service.
Mueller, in his own memo, also asked the judge for leniency.
Federal sentencing guidelines suggest Flynn's crime warrants from zero to six months incarceration.
But the special counsel said that "the low end" of that range — and possibly no time locked up at all — would be "appropriate and warranted."
Mueller pointedly cited Flynn's help with uncovering contacts between Trump's presidential transition team and Russian government officials.
Flynn, 60, "provided firsthand information about the content and context of" such interactions, the memo said.
That document highlighted the value of Flynn's information to Mueller, who is continuing to investigate Russia's election interference, and potential collusion between Trump campaign associates and the Kremlin.
Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about the nature of his discussions with Sergey Kislyak, who was Russia's ambassador to the U.S., during the presidential transition period following the November 2016 election.
Flynn allegedly repeated those lies to Vice President Mike Pence and other officials, and after only 24 days as Trump's national security advisor, Flynn resigned. He began cooperating with law enforcement officials even before pleading guilty in December 2017 to one count of making false statements, according to the court documents.
Overall, Flynn had 19 meetings with Mueller's team and other officials totaling nearly 63 hours, according to court filings.