Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security advisor, faces up to five years in prison after pleading guilty Friday to charges of making false statements to the FBI.
The charges mark the first known criminal case against a current or former official in Trump’s presidential administration as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling during the 2016 election.
Flynn said in a statement that he was cooperating with Mueller’s investigation “to set things right.”
Prosecutors said in court Friday that “a very senior member of the transition team directed” Flynn to contact the Russian ambassador.
The government did not reveal the identity of the senior transition official, but news organizations including CNN, BuzzFeed News and NBC News reported that sources identified the official as Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser. “I don’t think you get closer to the president than Jared Kushner,” said CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.
According to a court filing, Flynn made “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI on Jan. 24 about conversation he had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak last December. Prosecutors in Mueller’s office said Flynn falsely stated to the FBI that he had not discussed sanctions with Kislyak.
In June, former F.B.I. Director James Comey testified that President Trump pressured him to drop his investigation into Flynn and his calls with Kislyak, writing that Trump said, “‘I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
Flynn is the fourth person to be charged in connection with Mueller’s investigation. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, a former business associate of Manafort, face 12 charges, including “conspiracy against the United States.” George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser during the Trump campaign, has pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about the nature of contacts he had within Russia.
Source: The Quirer/Philly.com