Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI, says 'actions were wrong'

By Ed Adamczyk  |  Updated Dec. 1, 2017 at 2:44 PM
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Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Michael Flynn, former national security adviser in the Trump administration, pleaded guilty on Friday to one count of making a false statement to the FBI.

Special counsel Robert Mueller charged Flynn with "willfully and knowingly" making "false, fictitious and fraudulent statements" to the bureau regarding Flynn's interactions with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn appeared in federal court in Washington, D.C., Friday morning, where he entered his guilty plea.

The charges and the quick guilty plea indicate that Flynn is cooperating with Mueller's investigation of possible collusion between the Russian government and the Trump team.

A plea agreement also suggests that Flynn provided information to prosecutors beneficial to Mueller's investigation.

The plea concerns false statements Flynn made to the FBI on Jan. 24, about his conversations with Kislyak in which Flynn said he did not recall Kislyak telling him of a change in Russia's response to U.S.-imposed economic sanctions the two previously discussed. It suggests there was a prior conversation between Flynn and Kislyak.

The single charge appeared in a document unsealed Friday.

Through his lawyer, Flynn released a statement after his court appearance, which said, "I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong, and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right. 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. I accept full responsibility for my actions."

The White House immediately distanced itself from Flynn with Friday's plea.

"Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn," White House attorney Ty Cobb said in a written statement. "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."

Flynn, a retired general, was previously head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He served as national security adviser for 24 days after Trump took office before he was fired for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about Russian contacts.

Flynn is also being investigated by congressional committees probing Russian interference in last year's presidential campaign.

Flynn is the first Trump administration official to be charged in Mueller's probe.

Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and former business associate Rick Gates have been charged with crimes including conspiracy against the United States. They have pleaded not guilty.

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