Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI

Becomes the first person to have worked in Trump’s team to face formal charges in Russia probe

Updated - December 02, 2017 01:37 pm IST

Published - December 01, 2017 08:14 pm IST - WASHINGTON:

In this February 1, 2107 file photo, than White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn speaks at the White House in Washington, U.S.

In this February 1, 2107 file photo, than White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn speaks at the White House in Washington, U.S.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday to making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the first plea by any of the four former advisers of the President charged so far in a wide-ranging investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

“Yes, sir,” the retired three-star General and former military intelligence chief said when asked in court if he wanted to plead guilty.

Mr. Flynn said he lied about his conversations with Russia’s Ambassador to the U.S. during the transition period before Mr. Trump’s inauguration.

The guilty plea makes Mr. Flynn the first person to have actually worked in the Trump White House to face formal charges in the investigation, which is examining possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

Mr. Flynn has been under investigation for a wide range of allegations, including lobbying work on behalf of Turkey, however the fact that he was charged only with a single count of false statements suggests Mr. Flynn is cooperating with Mr. Mueller’s investigation in exchange for leniency.

Early on, Mr. Trump had taken a particular interest in the status of the Flynn investigation.

Former FBI Director James Comey has said Mr. Trump had asked him in a private Oval Office meeting to consider ending the investigation. The White House has denied that assertion.

Forced to resign

Mr. Flynn, who was interviewed by the FBI just days after Mr. Trump’s inauguration, was forced to resign in February after White House officials said he had misled them about whether he had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.

Administration officials said Mr. Flynn had not discussed sanctions that had been imposed on Russia in part over election meddling. In charging Mr. Flynn, prosecutors made clear they believe that claim to be false.

Aides under scanner


Mr. Mueller’s team announced charges last month against three other Trump campaign officials, former chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates, and a former foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos.

Signs of Mr. Flynn cooperating with Mr. Mueller’s team surfaced in the past week, as his lawyers told the legal team they could no longer discuss information about the case with them. Scheduled grand jury testimony regarding Flynn was also postponed by prosecutors.



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