Michael Flynn pleads guilty for lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation

Michael Flynn pleads guilty for lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation

Kerry Wise
December 2, 2017

Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI, becoming the first Trump White House official to face criminal charges and admit guilt so far in the wide-ranging election investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.

It is widely believed that Flynn's "guilty" plea is part of a broader plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller that entails revealing testimony on potential connections between the Russians and the Trump campaign.

"Flynn is accused of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about asking the ambassador in late December to "refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed on Russian Federation that same day".

Flynn, who once headed the Defense Intelligence Agency, also admitted he lied to investigators about secretly asking Kislyak on December 22 to defeat or delay a looming UN Security Council resolution to condemn Israel's settlements in Palestinian territory. Flynn described to them how Russian Federation would not retaliate for the sanctions following team Trump's request. Our investigation in Congress is not only looking at the actions of individuals affiliated with the Trump campaign, but is also examining the broader issues of how the Russians worked to undermine our election and what steps we as a nation can take to harden our electoral process in future.

Flynn was an early and vocal supporter on the campaign trail of President Donald Trump whose business dealings and foreign interactions made him a central focus of Mueller's investigation.

A lawyer for Flynn informs Trump's lawyers that they can no longer share information with the White House.

The court documents provide the clearest picture yet of coordination between Flynn and other Trump advisers in contacting Russian officials to influence global policy.

Mueller's decision to actually charge Flynn, then, is clearly a significant escalation of an investigation that has already led to charges against Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, and a similar guilty plea for making false statements by Papadopoulos.

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At the time, Flynn was a campaign and transition advisor with no official USA government role, but it was known that he would likely become Trump's White House national security advisor.

Asked by Contreras how he would plead, Flynn said simply, "Guilty, your honor".

Three others have been charged in the Mueller probe.

"The development came at a particularly sensitive moment for the White House, just as Mr Trump and Republican congressional leaders are toiling to hold together a tenuous coalition to push through a large tax cut plan", the New York Times said.

Flynn has been under investigation for a wide range of allegations, including his lobbying work on behalf of Turkey, but the fact that he was charged only with a single count of making false statements suggests he is cooperating with Mueller's investigation in exchange for leniency.

The federal prosecutors spoke with Flynn four days after Trump's presidential inauguration.

Flynn didn't speak in court, other than to say he would plead guilty.