Updated Dec 1, 2017 12:33 PM EST
President Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI, and CBS News has confirmed U.S. law enforcement officials have long suspected Flynn did not engage the Russian ambassador without being directed to do so.
Flynn made the guilty plea in federal court in Washington, D.C. on Friday, admitting to lying to the FBI as it investigated Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Flynn turned himself into the FBI early Friday morning, and was processed and charged. Flynn’s misleading of the FBI took place while Donald Trump was president-elect.
Read: Flynn plea agreement
A document filed with the court by the special counsel says that Flynn “did willfully and knowingly make materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statements and representations” to the FBI regarding his interaction with then-Russian Envoy Sergey Kislyak. In early December, after the election, he and the president’s son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner met with Kislyak at Trump Tower. On Dec. 29, Flynn called Kislyak five times, and the two spoke about sanctions against Russia that had just been imposed by President Obama over Russia’s meddling in the U.S. 2016 elections.
CBS News has confirmed that U.S. law enforcement officials have long suspected that Michael Flynn did not engage the Russian ambassador without being directed to do so. Soon after electronic intercepts picked up the conversations between Sergey Kislyak and Flynn, U.S. officials began to suspect that someone encouraged him to do it.
The lack of a Russian response to the sanctions imposed by the Obama administration stunned intelligence officials working in the Obama Administration. In an interview earlier this year former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CBS that the reaction was “very un-Russian-like” and “curious.”
Friday’s plea agreement with Flynn suggests that the Special Counsel’s office views the conversation with Kislyak as an important or perhaps even a critical aspect of the overall investigation as prosecutor’s try to determine who else up the Trump transition chain of command was aware of the conversations.
“After over 33 years of military service to our country, including nearly five years in combat away from my family, and then my decision to continue to serve the United States, it…