Ex-Trump adviser confesses to lies
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.”