All of this relates to the mystery of why Mr. Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements. It made little sense for him to lie since as a seasoned intelligence officer he would know the U.S. eavesdrops on the Russian ambassador. He also willingly sat for the FBI interview with no legal counsel, suggesting he felt no risk in doing so.

Certainly the statements about the FBI agent’s impression of Mr. Flynn would not have helped Mr. Mueller’s case at trial had Mr. Flynn not pleaded guilty. The plea deal noted that Mr. Flynn’s sentence would depend on his “assistance in the investigation,” and perhaps Mr. Flynn felt he lacked the money to defend himself in court. He also may have wanted to spare his son, whom Mr. Mueller was also targeting.

In any case it is a dubious practice for a prosecutor to force a cooperating witness to plead guilty to a crime he didn’t commit. Perhaps Mr. Flynn is supplying testimony behind the scenes that puts all of this in a better light, but the facts on the public record to date don’t reflect well on Mr. Mueller’s prosecutorial tactics toward Mr. Flynn.