Michael Flynn, who was let go as President Donald Trump’s National Security earlier this year, pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI about his communications with Russia’s ambassador.
Flynn had a few calls with the Moscow’s ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, about a month prior to Trump’s inauguration, but on Friday he admitted in a 45-minute hearing to misleading FBI agents by making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” in Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Flynn admitted to making untruthful statements when asked in December 2016 if he did not ask Kislyak “to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day; and Flynn did not recall the Russian ambassador subsequently telling him that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request.”
Flynn also denied asking Kislyak to delay the vote on the United Nation Security Council resolution.
Mueller has obtained indictments on Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort, his deputy, and from a junior foreign policy adviser.
National Security Lawyer Brad Moss suspects that Flynn’s plead deal shows he is going to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation and will be sharing information on other U.S. officials’ and their involvement with Russian officials.
“Given the narrow scope of the indictment, I would put good money on it that this was the negotiated terms of the deal,” said Moss in an email to The Hill. “Mueller agreed to charge Flynn with a single felony in exchange for cooperation and material information (as well as not prosecuting him for other things).”
But, Flynn said in court Friday that his testimony statements were not due to a promise of a specific sentence.
Flynn but also said that a “very senior member” of the Trump transition team was involved in his conversations with Russia.
“Prosecutors said Mr. Flynn consulted several times with top Trump transition officials on his contacts with Russia, suggesting special counsel Robert Mueller is closely scrutinizing other prominent Trump associates. But his ultimate targets, and the exact nature of any potential wrongdoing, remain unclear,” writes the Wall Street Journal. “Mr. Flynn also acknowledged in court documents filed Friday that a “very senior member” of the transition team had directed his contacts over the U.N. issue. The people familiar with the matter said the “very senior member” was Mr. Kushner.”
The White House released a statement Friday morning that said “nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn.”
“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,” said Ty Cobb, a White House lawyer.
“People in the building are very happy,” said a source about how the White House felt about the charge to CNN. “This doesn’t lead back to Trump in any way, shape or form.”
Flynn faces a maximum of five years in prison.
Flynn said his actions “were wrong, and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right” and that “my guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel’s Office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country. I accept full responsibility for my actions.”
Trump was in office for less than a month when Flynn was forced to quit.
Flynn apologized in his resignation letter to the president and vice president for giving “incomplete information” about his discussions with the Russian ambassador. Flynn then filed an updated foreign registration form which proved he didn’t disclose multiple contacts and payments while he was a Trump campaign adviser.
Author’s note: This has ignited speculation that Mueller will put pressure on Flynn to implicate Trump in something. But the bottom line is that no collusion has been shown. Not to mention, none of the charges from the Clinton campaign have actually come to pass, why is that?
Editor’s note: Trump has since tweeted that he knew Flynn had lied, and that was part of the reason he was fired. But this does not prove collusion. We stand by our conclusion that the Russia investigation is the result of Democrat campaign accusations that have no basis in fact.