Michael Flynn pleads guilty for lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation

Joy Montgomery
December 2, 2017

After the others filed out, Trump made an insistent plea to Comey - who, it turns out, kept careful memos of this and other interactions he had with the president - to take it easy on General Michael T. Flynn, his national security adviser who'd been fired the previous day.

"My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel's Office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country", he said in a statement.

Flynn was formally charged by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday, and has pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation over his December 2016 phone call to Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak. But I recognise that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong, and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right.

Flynn rejected claims that he had committed treason, but said he accepts "full responsibility for his actions." .

Flynn's plea, Warner said, "comes on the heels of a new report about the President's efforts to silence the independent, bipartisan Senate investigation into ties between Trump associates and Russian Federation".

Flynn is cooperating with Mueller's office as a condition of his plea deal.

The White House rejected the idea that Flynn could implicate Trump for collusion with Moscow, even as court documents said that Flynn had been told by "senior" members of the presidential transition team to make contact with the Russians.

He was forced to resign that post in February, just weeks after the president took office, due to public concerns over his contacts with Russian Federation.

A lawyer for Flynn informs Trump's lawyers that they can no longer share information with the White House. The following day, Flynn spoke to a "senior official" on the transition team at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort to discuss "what, if anything, to communicate to the Russian Ambassador about the USA sanctions", according to the documents.

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Flynn's admission was part of a statement of facts read out in court before Flynn pleaded guilty.

The 58-year-old was forced to resign earlier this year after misleading White House officials about a meeting with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak in December 2016.

The Obama administration, in a rare step that shocked its Middle East ally, planned to abstain on the motion rather than veto it as had been done in the past.

Because the Obama administration had expelled 35 Russian diplomats that same day to retaliate against Moscow's meddling in the 2016 campaign, my column posed the basic question: "What did Flynn say, and did it undercut the USA sanctions?"

"The conclusion of this phase of the special counsel's work demonstrates again that the special counsel is moving with all deliberate speed and clears the way for a prompt and reasonable conclusion", Ty Cobb, a White House lawyer, said in a statement.

Friday's news made clear that Trump's inner circle, if not the president himself, are increasingly under threat by Mueller's investigation.

During the Republican National Convention in July 2016, when Trump was officially nominated as the GOP's candidate, Flynn led the entire convention in a repeated chant of "Lock her up!"

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos became the first to plead guilty to lying about his contact with the Russians back in October. Mueller has already indicted Manafort, Trump's campaign manager, and Gates, his deputy campaign manager and a longtime Manafort associate, on charges involving money laundering and other offenses, and it's not known whether Manafort and Gates might also decide to tell all to Mueller in exchange for a deal. Trump, who publicly fretted about his desire to have Mueller wrap up his investigation sooner rather than later, and who supposedly will "blow a gasket" if he isn't exonerated by year's end, will now watch as Mueller proceeds full steam ahead, bolstered by Flynn's input.

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