Disgraced former National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn, who resigned after less than a month for misleading White House officials about conversations with a Russian ambassador, was charged on Friday with “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements and representations” to the FBI.
Flynn, who was in contact with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December, had originally denied having (potentially illegal) discussions with Kislyak regarding sanctions that President Obama had imposed against Russia. The court documents allege that Flynn “falsely stated and represented” to the FBI that he did not ask Kislyak to “refrain from escalating the situation” in response to the US sanctions, and that he didn’t recall Kislyak obliging that request and moderating Russia’s response. The document also says that Flynn falsely claimed that he did not ask Kislyak to “delay a vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution,” and then falsely denied that Kislyak had “never described to Flynn Russia’s response to the request.”
Flynn is the fourth former Trump campaign official—and first of any Trump administration officials—to face charges from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
Update 12/1, 11:21 am: ABC News is reporting that Flynn will offer “full cooperation to the Mueller team” and will offer testimony that Donald Trump “directed him to make contact with the Russians.”
Update 12/1, 11:43 am: Here’s Flynn’s statement, entering a guilty plea:
After over 33 years of military service to our country, including nearly 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. Such false accusations are contrary to everything I have ever done and stood for. But 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.
Meanwhile, the White House has issued a statement saying, “Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn.”