Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Author: Jon Douglas Dec 02, 2017,
Dec 02, 2017, 0:37
Flynn also told authorities he did not recall the ambassador "subsequently telling him that Russian Federation has chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request", according to a court filing.
According to documents that were unsealed by the Mueller investigation, Papadopoulos had made at least six attempts to set up a meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian representatives throughout the course of the 2016 presidential campaign, using a London-based professor named Joseph Mifsud and a female Russian national as conduits.
Trump fired Flynn in February, citing an "evolving and eroding level of trust" after the former national security adviser lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his interactions with Kislyak.
In May, Trump fired Comey over "this Russian Federation thing with Trump and Russian Federation", as Trump described it. Comey's ouster was a stunning event, one that led directly to the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel for Russiagate.
Flynn is the first Trump White House official to be charged with a crime in connection to Mueller's investigation.
Three others have been charged in the Mueller probe.
White House lawyer Ty Cobb sought to distance the plea from Trump himself, saying, "Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn".
Flynn repeatedly denied that his conversations had included discussion of the sanctions and reportedly made the denials to other senior members of the administration - who then publically defended him. Comey has said the encounter unnerved him so much that he prepared an internal memo about it.
These were credulity-straining defenses offered by the White House in the face of charges against Manafort and Papadopoulos. The disgraced Flynn - who was sacked for covering up his interactions last December with Sergei Kislyak, then Russia's ambassador to the United States - pleaded guilty to charges filed by Mueller that Flynn lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about those talks with Kislyak.
But he resigned from the post soon after it emerged that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and then-chief of staff Reince Priebus about his conversations with Kislyak in which they discussed U.S. sanctions against Russian Federation. This follows the guilty plea of a Trump campaign aide; charges against a Trump campaign manager; and charges against a key aide to the Trump campaign and transition.
President Obama warns Trump during a meeting at the White House that Flynn is a problem.
At 11:12 a.m. ET, nearly 40 minutes into his first court appearance Friday, Flynn officially pleaded guilty to lying to investigators.
The full ramifications of this revelation are not immediately known, but may pertain to the scope of cooperation the Trump administration has had with Mueller's investigation.
The false statements related to Flynn's contact with Russian officials, according to the special counsel. That appears to refer to the body's vote a day later to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
The Obama administration, in a rare step that shocked its Middle East ally, planned to abstain on the motion rather than veto it as had been done in the past. The rest of the 15-nation council, including Russian Federation, voted unanimously against Israel.
The federal prosecutors spoke with Flynn four days after Trump's presidential inauguration. Flynn has five exchanges with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that day.
"As to the United Nations, things will be different after January 20th", Trump said, referencing his upcoming inauguration.