Former US NSA pleads guilty to lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation

Mike Flynn has pled guilty to criminal conduct, while he was serving as National Security Adviser to the President of the United States, involving his contact with Russian officials.

Following his plea, Flynn left the court with his head down and released a statement agreeing to cooperate with the special counsel and said he accepted full responsibility of his actions.

The White House rejected the idea that Flynn could implicate Trump for collusion with Moscow, even as court documents said that Flynn had been told by "senior" members of the presidential transition team to make contact with the Russians.

The transition official and Flynn "discussed that the members of the Presidential Transition Team at Mar-a-Lago did not want Russian Federation to escalate the situation".

This past Valentine's Day, President Trump asked then FBI Director James Comey to stick around following a meeting with a group of national security officials in the Oval Office.

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 Trump's presidency, making him a valuable potential tool for prosecutors and agents. Revelations about the phone calls ended with Flynn's unceremonious resignation in February, less than a month after taking his post as National Security Advisor.

Mr Flynn's statement said: "After over 33 years of military service to our country, including almost five years in combat away from my family, and then my decision to continue to serve the United States, it has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of "treason" and other outrageous acts".

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

Flynn is scheduled to plead guilty in federal court Friday
Flynn is scheduled to plead guilty in federal court Friday

A White House lawyer said that nothing in Flynn's guilty plea "implicates anyone other than Mr Flynn".

Flynn is the most senior member of the Trump administration to have been indicted by the special counsel thus far.

ABC suggests Flynn could testify that Trump directed him to make contact with Russian operatives during the campaign; meanwhile, a report by NBC suggests Jared Kushner could be a person of interest in the investigation by Robert Mueller's team. The White House has denied that assertion.

Flynn's plea, Warner said, "comes on the heels of a new report about the President's efforts to silence the independent, bipartisan Senate investigation into ties between Trump associates and Russian Federation".

Flynn denies that he discussed USA sanctions against Russian Federation with Kislyak.

Mueller's charging documents state bluntly that Flynn interfered with the FBI's inquiry into Trump-Russia collusion.

Flynn is the first Trump White House official to be charged with a crime in connection to Mueller's investigation.

Warner noted that it's the second Trump campaign associate to plead guilty to making false statements, while former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy are facing a slew of charges.

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