The admission of guilt by Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, as part of the federal Russia probe “is a shattering moment for the Trump presidency”, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal has said.
Mr Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI – an event that top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi has called a “dark moment” in American history.
“The guilty plea of President Trump’s former National Security Advisor to lying to the FBI about his communications with Russian authorities marks a dark moment in our nation’s history,“ Ms Pelosi said in a statement.
According to court documents, Mr Flynn admitted to lying when he told investigators that he didn’t ask the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, to moderate Russia’s response to US sanctions. He was also not telling the truth when he said he didn’t ask Mr Kislyak to delay or defeat an unrelated United Nations Security Council vote.
The ex-official has been central to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged ties between Trump campaign advisers and the Kremlin.
“Clearly, Flynn is cooperating,” said Mr Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is conducting its own inquiry into Russian meddling in the presidential election and potential collusion by the Trump campaign.
“And he must continue to cooperate completely and candidly if he hopes to avoid even more serious criminal convictions,” he added in his statement. “The exact charge sends a bombshell signal: it’s about the Russians. Specifically, Flynn lied about issues of preeminent Russian interests – sanctions, the United Nations, and Russian exchanges.”
The biggest names involved in the Trump-Russia investigation
He continued: “Flynn’s betrayal of national security is an enduring black mark on our country’s history and a stunning violation of his oath of office. Incredibly, he lied to the FBI while he was the President’s chief national security adviser.”
Mr Flynn made the false statements during his interview with the FBI in January – just four days after Mr Trump’s inauguration.
He resigned from his post just a few weeks later – after it was revealed that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Mr Kislyak.
Following Mr Flynn’s guilty plea, Mr Blumenthal said the Senate Judiciary Committee “must pursue its investigation with new…