Michael Flynn, Trump’s ex-national security adviser, pleads guilty to lying to the FBI; now cooperating with Russia probe

Michael Flynn, Trump’s ex-national security adviser, pleads guilty to lying to the FBI; now cooperating with Russia probe, by Tucker Higgins.

Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI about his postelection contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the United States — and is now cooperating with a probe into links between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Flynn surrendered Friday morning before a hearing in Washington federal court, where he admitted guilty to a single criminal count of knowingly making materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statements to FBI agents. …

At the plea hearing, prosecutors said Flynn had spoken last year with senior members of Trump’s transition team about his conversations with the Russian ambassador, which were related to sanctions imposed by the Obama administration.

Specifically, a prosecutor said, Flynn spoke to one senior official who was at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort property in Florida about what to say to Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. …

Flynn admitted to falsely claiming he had not asked Kislyak on Dec. 29 “to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day.” …

Then-President Barack Obama had announced those sanctions along with the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats in retaliation against the Kremlin for interfering with the 2016 presidential election.

Flynn also admitted lying by investigators “he 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,” the government said.

Flynn also admitted to stating that he “did not ask the Russian Ambassador to delay the vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution,” according to the filing. The resolution, which was approved, condemned Israeli settlements. …

The charge against Flynn carries a maximum possible prison sentence of five years — but his plea agreement calls for a recommended sentence of no more than six months in prison. …

Speaking of the Flynn developments, Trump attorney Ty 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,” Cobb said in his prepared statement.