Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI and revealed he is cooperating with prosecutors in the investigation of Russian meddling in last year’s election.
Flynn pleaded guilty to “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI regarding conversations with then-Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.
Court documents said the conversations between Flynn and Kislyak during the presidential transition related to the Russian response to increased U.S. sanctions and a pending UN Security Council resolution about Israel.
The retired Army lieutenant general is the first person inside President Donald Trump’s administration to face charges in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
In a statement, Flynn accepted full responsibility for his actions and said his guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel’s Office reflect a decision he made in the best interests of his family and of the country.
A close confidant told ABC News that Flynn felt abandoned by Trump in recent weeks and decided to make the plea deal amid concerns about the crippling legal costs he would face if he continued to contest the charges.
“It has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of ‘treason’ and other outrageous acts,” Flynn said. “Such false accusations are contrary to everything I have ever done and stood for.”
A report from ABC News said Flynn was prepared to testify that Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians while the president was still a candidate.
Flynn has admitted as part of the plea deal that a senior member of the Trump transition team directed him to make contact with Russian officials in December of 2016.
Responding to news, Trump lawyer Ty Cobb said the false statements involved in Flynn’s plea deal mirror the false statements he made to White House officials that resulted in his resignation in February.
“Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn,” Cobb said. “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.”
(Photo: Gage Skidmore)
by RTT Staff Writer
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