Michael Flynn attends a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Washington, DC, USA, 10 February 2017. 
JIM LO SCALZO/EPA

Congressional connection adds striking new twist to Flynn scandal

The Rachel Maddow Show, 5/16/19, 9:00 PM ET

Unsealed court docs in Flynn case add detail to Trump obstruction

Rachel Maddow shares new details from newly unsealed court documents in the Michael Flynn case which show new details about what help Flynn gave to prosecutors, including with the investigation of potential efforts to interfere with or obstruct the
Rachel Maddow shares new details from newly unsealed court documents in the Michael Flynn case which show new details about what help Flynn gave to prosecutors, including with the investigation of potential efforts to interfere with or obstruct the
For those following the scandal surrounding Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s original White House national security adviser, yesterday afternoon was a revelatory moment in time. A newly unredacted court filing shed new light on all sorts of things – including a question we didn’t previously know to ask.

As Rachel explained on the show last night, we now have vastly more information about how Flynn cooperated with federal law enforcement, what he cooperated about, and the nature of Team Trump’s intimidation tactics. As part of the same proceedings, the judge in the case said he wants the recording of a voicemail Michael Cohen left for Flynn’s lawyer, a recording of Flynn’s conversations with Russian officials, and redacted portions of the Mueller report to be released to the public.

It was, in other words, an illuminating early evening.

And then there was the one twist that no one knows quite what to make of, which NBC News highlighted in a report last night.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn told investigators that people linked to the Trump administration and Congress reached out to him in an effort to interfere in the Russia probe, according to newly-unredacted court papers filed Thursday.

The court filing from special counsel Robert Mueller is believed to mark the first public acknowledgement that a person connected to Capitol Hill was suspected of engaging in an attempt to impede the investigation into Russian election interference.

“The defendant informed the government of multiple instances, both before and after his guilty plea, where either he or his attorneys received communications from persons connected to the Administration or Congress that could’ve affected both his willingness to cooperate and the completeness of that cooperation,” the court papers say.

The court materials are frustratingly silent on the “connected to … Congress” angle, but the prospect of someone associated with Capitol Hill interfering with a federal investigation raises some tantalizing possibilities.

To be sure, “connected to” is a phrase with more than one meaning. It could be a reference to elected lawmakers – a striking possibility – or it could involve someone further down the legislative hierarchy: staffers, consultants, campaign aides, etc.

Without more information, we’re left to wonder. But as Rachel told Lawrence O’Donnell last night, why would someone “connected to” Congress contact Michael Flynn about his cooperation with federal law enforcement? Did those contacts constitute an obstructive effort?

There are a dozen pending criminal cases that sprang from the Mueller investigation, and at least for now, we don’t know what any of them are. Is it possible one of them relates to someone “connected to” Congress?

There are some intriguing possibilities.