Michael Flynn pleads guilty for lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation

Former U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn arrives for a plea hearing at U.S. District Court where he’s expected to plead guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the United States in Washington U.S. Fri
Former Trump adviser Michael Flynn to plead guilty to lying to the FBI

02 December, 2017

Retired general Michael Flynn, who was President Trump's national security adviser before resigning in February, will plead guilty on Friday to making a false statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, multiple sources reported. He also receives a speaking fee from a Russian government-run television network that US officials consider a propaganda outlet. According to a court filing, Flynn said that a "very senior member" of the presidential transition team asked Flynn on December 22 to contact officials to help delay or defeat a United Nations Security Council vote condemning Israeli settlement policies.

The transition official and Flynn "discussed that the members of the Presidential Transition Team at Mar-a-Lago did not want Russian Federation to escalate the situation".

President Obama warns Trump during a meeting at the White House that Flynn is a problem. That's in part because Vice President Mike Pence is expected to pursue broadly similar policies as Trump in the event that he ever becomes president himself.

Mueller's investigators have interviewed members of Trump's family, his top advisors, business partners and lawyers over their actions. 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.

"After over 33 years of military service to our country, including almost five years in combat away from my family, and then my decision to continue to serve the United States, it has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of "treason" and other outrageous acts", Flynn wrote in the Friday morning statement.

The charges against Flynn relate to a series of discussions the general had last December, during the presidential transition, when he reportedly told Kislyak that Trump's White House might go easy on sanctions against Russian Federation that were imposed by President Obama and asked Kislyak to sabotage a United Nations resolution on Israel that Obama's White House supported.

Flynn is scheduled to plead guilty in federal court Friday
Flynn is scheduled to plead guilty in federal court Friday

The false statements related to Flynn's contact with Russian officials, according to the special counsel. The plea deal was announced by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who has been investigating whether members of President Trump's team aided Russian interference in last year's presidential election. The White House has denied that assertion. The FBI folded Flynn into an official investigation into the possibility that Team Trump colluded with Russia, an inquiry that began in July 2016 after the USA intelligence community picked up reports of a pattern of odd contacts between the Trump campaign and an assortment of Russians. At a time when tensions were hightened between the U.S. and Russia, Flynn was asked about whether he discussed sanctions against the country with the ambassador before he took office.

Flynn now says he lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about the substance of his conversations with Kislyak, but that he had fully informed the transition team of the talks.

Mueller's charging documents state bluntly that Flynn interfered with the FBI's inquiry into Trump-Russia collusion.

Apparently, Mueller's team was seeking a deal of some kind to win Flynn's cooperation in that investigation. Scheduled grand jury testimony regarding Flynn was also postponed by prosecutors.

The relatively minor false-statement charge suggests that Flynn is divulging information to Mueller that could implicate figures even further up the chain of command.

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