WASHINGTON, D.C. — Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to making false statements to the FBI,
The plea (https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4318155/Flynn-Plea-Agreement.pdf), part of a deal Flynn struck with investigators regarding Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, related to false statements Flynn now admits to making about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
“On or about January 24, 2017, defendant Michael T. Flynn did willfully and knowingly make materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and representations in a matter within the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the Government of the United States,” the filing in federal court read.
According to two page indictment (https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4318008/Flynn-18-USC-1001-a-2-Indictment.pdf), Flynn made the false statements to the FBI on Jan. 24, two days after he was sworn in as national security adviser.
As he stood before a federal judge, Flynn said under oath that he not been coerced to plead guilty or promised a reduced sentence. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison if convicted.
“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,” Flynn said in a statement shortly after answering to the charges in federal court. “I accept full responsibility for my actions.”
According to court documents, Flynn has told investigators that a “very senior member” of President Donald Trump’s transition team ordered him to contact officials within the Russian government. It is not yet clear who Flynn plans to name.
Flynn is the fourth person connected to Trump’s campaign to be charged as part of Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russian government to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chair deputy campaign chair Rick Gates were both indicted last month; each pleaded not guilty. Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos was also charged with making a false statement to the FBI over contacts with officials connected to the Russian government. He plead guilty to all counts.
In a statement following Flynn’s plea, White House attorney Ty Cobb said Flynn’s lies were the same he told Trump administration officials, resulting in Flynn’s being fired in February.
“Today, Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser at the White House for 25 days during the Trump Administration, and a former Obama administration official, entered a guilty plea to a single count of making a false statement to the FBI,” Cobb said. “The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year. 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,” Cobb concluded.
Michael Flynn served as National Security Advisor under the Trump administration from Jan. 22 until his forced resignation on Feb. 14.