Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn plead guilty on Friday to one felony count of making false statements to the FBI, as Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections reached into the inner circles of President Donald Trump’s administration, as Flynn admitted that he did not tell the truth about conversations he had with the Russian Ambassador to the United States.
“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 written statement.
“I accept full responsibility for my actions,” Flynn added, as he became the first member of the Trump Administration to be charged, and plead guilty to charges related to Mueller’s probe.
The White House downplayed the significance of the Flynn guilty plea, as supporters of the President quickly noted that it presented no evidence of any wrongdoing by the President.
“Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn,” said Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Ty Cobb.
The importance of today’s guilty plea – and Flynn’s admission that he is cooperating with federal prosecutors – is that Flynn is evidently ready to shed more light for investigators on contacts between the Trump team and Russian officials.
Where that leads – remains a question.
In Congress, Democrats said the guilty plea raised deep questions about links between the Trump Campaign and Moscow, as some mocked Flynn with one of his campaign trail sayings.
“Lock him up! Lock him up!” said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).
There was no immediate comment from President Trump. A photo op that had been scheduled at lunch time in the Oval Office was suddenly called off by White House officials.
After Flynn’s guilty plea was accepted by a federal judge in Washington, the Special Counsel’s Office put out more detail on what Flynn had done, and how he has agreed to help the investigation.
“FLYNN’s false statements and omissions impeded and otherwise had a material impact on the FBI’s ongoing investigation into the existence of any links or coordination between individuals associated with the Campaign and Russia’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election,” the document states.