A letter accompanying a subpoena of an associate of Mike Flynn’s Turkish client suggests that Russia probe Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), violations of which have a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
An associate of the man who hired Trump’s former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn as a lobbyist was subpoenaed by team Muller, ProPublica reported Friday. The letter accompanying the subpoena indicates to legal expert Renato Mariotti that Mueller is investigating violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
“The special counsel wanted to question a Turkish businessman with interests in Turkey, Russia and the U.S. — and ties to people with criminal records,” Isaac Arnsdorf reported.
“The special prosecutor investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election has subpoenaed an associate of Gen. Michael Flynn’s Turkish lobbying client. The subpoena, a copy of which was obtained by ProPublica, ordered Sezgin Baran Korkmaz to testify before a grand jury in Washington on Sept. 22.
“The grand jury is conducting an investigation of possible violations of federal criminal laws involving the Foreign Agents Registration Act, among other offenses,” a letter accompanying the subpoena stated.
The letter is signed by Robert Mueller and Zainab Ahmad, a senior assistant special counsel who specializes in prosecuting terrorism. Korkmaz did not respond to requests for comment.”
Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, broke it down like this:
THREAD: Why did Mueller subpoena an associate of a Turkish client of Michael Flynn?
1/ Yesterday @ProPublica reported that Sezgin Korkmaz, an associate of Flynn’s Turkish client, was subpoenaed:
2/ The letter accompanying the subpoena indicates that Mueller is investigating violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
3/ That law requires individuals who work on behalf of a foreign government within the United States to
4/ If someone “willfully” violates FARA, lies in their disclosure, or makes an important omission in their disclosure, that’s a crime.
5/ The maximum punishment is five years in prison. The full text of FARA is here: https://www.fara.gov/indx-act.html
6/ Mueller will focus on narrow charges like FARA. They are easier to prove than wide-ranging conspiracies.
7/ The fact that Mueller listed FARA specifically in the letter suggests that FARA issues would be the focus of Korkmaz’s testimony.
8/ It also is likely the focus of Mueller’s investigation against Flynn. That is consistent with Trump lawyer Ty Cobb’s statement to an
9/ email prankster impersonating his colleague, in which he indicated that Flynn has his own liability distinct from the White House. /end
Willfully violating FARA is a crime with the maximum of five years in prison. This charge would be easier to prove than “wide-ranging conspiracies.” At least for Mike Flynn, whose problems stem not only from working for Trump, but also from the attention Trump’s Russia scandal is bringing to his behavior separate from that specific issue.
The more Mueller puts the squeeze on Flynn, the worse things look for the big fish in the White House, if he in fact did collude with Russia against the United States of America in hopes of getting elected President.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.