Ex-Trump ad­viser con­fesses to lies

Sunday Territorian - - WORLD - AP

WASHINGTON: Michael Flynn, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s for­mer na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser, has pleaded guilty to ly­ing to the FBI, be­com­ing the first Trump White House of­fi­cial to face crim­i­nal charges and ad­mit guilt so far in the widerang­ing elec­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tion by spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller.

Mr Flynn also agreed to co­op­er­ate with Mr Mueller’s probe, which fo­cuses on Rus­sian med­dling in the 2016 elec­tion and pos­si­ble co-or­di­na­tion be­tween Rus­sia and Mr Trump’s team in the cam­paign that sent the Repub­li­can busi­ness­man to the White House.

Court papers make clear that Mr Flynn knows the iden­ti­ties of at least two mem­bers of Mr Trump’s tran­si­tion team who were in­ti­mately aware of his out­reach to Rus­sian gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials in the weeks be­fore the in­au­gu­ra­tion.

Mr Mueller’s pros­e­cu­tors did not re­veal the names of the of­fi­cials, but in­di­cated they were se­nior and within Mr Trump’s in­ner cir­cle.

Mr Trump ig­nored reporters’ shouted ques­tions as he wel­comed the Libyan prime min­is­ter to the White House, and aides can­celled me­dia ac­cess to a later meet­ing be­tween the two.

Mr Flynn was an early and vo­cal Trump sup­porter on the cam­paign trail and was present for con­se­quen­tial mo­ments in the cam­paign, the fol­low­ing tran­si­tion pe­riod and the early days of Mr Trump’s pres­i­dency, mak­ing him a valu­able po­ten­tial tool for pros­e­cu­tors. His busi­ness deal­ings have made him a cen­tral fo­cus of Mr Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Mr Trump’s for­mer na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser ad­mit­ted to ly­ing about his con­ver­sa­tions with Rus­sia’s am­bas­sador to the US dur­ing the tran­si­tion pe­riod be­fore Mr Trump’s in- au­gu­ra­tion. In a state­ment, Mr Flynn said he ac­cepted re­spon­si­bil­ity for his ac­tions and added: “My guilty plea and agree­ment to co-op­er­ate with the Spe­cial Coun­sel’s Of­fice re­flect a de­ci­sion I made in the best in­ter­ests of my fam­ily and of our coun­try.”

Mr Flynn is the fourth for­mer Trump as­so­ciate to face charges in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the first who ac­tu­ally served in Mr Trump’s White House.

White House lawyer Ty Cobb sought to dis­tance the plea from Mr Trump, say­ing, “Noth­ing about the guilty plea or the charge im­pli­cates any­one other than Mr Flynn.”

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