Michael Flynn’s guilty plea opens more doors than it closes.
Interested in Russia Investigation?
Add Russia Investigation as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Russia Investigation news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
That should scare White House officials as they hunker down for an investigation that’s inching ever closer to the Oval Office – and still looks like it’s nowhere near completion.
The sparse legal documents filed today by the special counsel indicate that Flynn is pleading guilty to a single count of lying to federal investigators.
With that, President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser becomes a convicted felon for misleading the FBI about contacts he had with the ambassador from Russia – a country that was accused by the nation’s intelligence agencies of meddling in the presidential election before those contacts.
Yet, that’s the least of White House worries at the moment.
Left unsaid in today’s legal filings is the extent to which Flynn is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team – and what insights he might be able to provide that point toward collusion with the Russians and interactions with Trump family members.
The retired Army general has promised his “full coordination” with the Mueller investigation, ABC News is reporting. Flynn is prepared to testify that Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians, in the context of plans to defeat ISIS.
This is a game-changing development with far-reaching implications.
The indictments of former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his longtime associate, Rick Gates, were for lobbying activities that long predated their connections to Trump. The guilty plea of George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign foreign-policy adviser, was dismissed by Trump allies as a low-level campaign volunteer essentially freelancing to make contacts with the Russians.
White House attorney Ty Cobb sought to minimize the import of today’s news. He said in a statement that Flynn held a job under the president for only 25 days – after which he was fired for the same lies the FBI caught him on.
“Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn,” Cobb said in a statement. “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.”