WASHINGTON — Michael Flynn’s lawyers have told other defense lawyers in the ongoing Russia probe, including President Donald Trump’s legal team, that they’re no longer able to share information, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.
The source added that the decision to cease informal information-sharing could be an indication Flynn is preparing to plead guilty in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
The New York Times first reported the change Thursday, citing four people involved with the case, and added that it could be “an indication that Mr. Flynn is cooperating with prosecutors or negotiating … a deal.”
While Flynn’s lawyers had previously shared information with Trump’s team, the change does not necessarily indicate that Flynn is cooperating with Mueller.
Jay Sekulow, a member of Trump’s legal team, said that the decision to no longer share information “is not entirely unexpected” and shouldn’t be seen as an indication of cooperation.
“No one should draw the conclusion that this means anything about General Flynn cooperating against the President,” Sekulow added.
Lawyers can pull out of information-sharing arrangements for a variety of reasons, including concerns of potential conflicts of interest that may arise at a later date. Information sharing may also be abandoned, for example, when a lawyer is attempting to negotiate with prosecutors, but those negotiations aren’t always successful.
Flynn’s team did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment.
Mueller is currently conducting a special investigation to look into Russian interference in the 2016 election and any potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
The Times’ report Thursday comes just weeks after CNN reported Flynn was concerned about the potential legal exposure of his son, Michael Flynn Jr. in the investigation.
Interviews conducted by special counsel investigators have included questions about the business dealings of Flynn and his son such as their firm’s reporting of income from work overseas, two witnesses interviewed by the team previously told CNN. The Foreign Agents Registration Act requires people acting as agents of foreign entities to publicly disclose their relationship with foreign countries or businesses and financial compensation for such work.
Flynn was subject to questions and scrutiny during his brief stint as the White House national security adviser over phone calls with the former Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak.
CNN previously reported that Flynn initially told investigators that he did not discuss sanctions with Kislyak, but later changed his answer to say he didn’t remember. Mueller could potentially use this to charge Flynn with making false statements — the same charge that former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to last month.
Former Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates already face charges relating to their undisclosed foreign lobbying for Ukraine. They were indicted by Mueller’s grand jury last month. Both have pleaded not guilty.