Michael Flynn Pleads Guilty: What You Need to Know

Flynn is the fourth former Trump campaign official to be charged by special counsel Robert Mueller's wide-ranging probe into alleged Russian election interference.

Flynn was on the campaign trail with Trump from early on and, as well as the fact he was involved in the transition period, his business dealings and foreign interactions have given him a special focus for Mueller.

ABC News said in an unconfirmed report that the former military intelligence chief will testify that Trump himself had ordered him to reach out to the Russians - a report that sent Wall Street briefly tumbling.

At the center of this story is a mystery that will propel the rest of the inquiry: What was Trump so anxious about that it made him deny contacts with Russian Federation and denounce attempts to investigate those contacts?

The retired US Army Lieutenant General was specifically accused of lying about a conversation he had with Kislyak concerning sanctions that then-US President Barack Obama imposed on Russian Federation in late December 2016. Court documents filed by the special counsel said that Flynn "willfully and knowingly" made "materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and representations".

They also provide the clearest picture yet of coordination between Flynn and other Trump advisers in contacting Russian officials to influence global policy.

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"Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn", said White House attorney Ty Cobb. The following day, Flynn spoke to a "senior official" on the transition team at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort to discuss "what, if anything, to communicate to the Russian Ambassador about the U.S. sanctions", according to the documents. Comey has said the encounter unnerved him so much that he prepared an internal memo about it. At a time when tensions were hightened between the U.S. and Russia, Flynn was asked about whether he discussed sanctions against the country with the ambassador before he took office.

About seven weeks before the presidential election, Flynn meets with former CIA Director R. James Woolsey Jr. and Turkey's minister of foreign affairs, Mevlut Cavusoglu, at the JW Marriott Essex House, a hotel in midtown Manhattan.

Donald Trump and Michael Flynn speak at a campaign rally in Colorado on October 18, 2016. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his own foreign contacts. This part of the circle closed Friday, as Mueller obtained a guilty plea from the man Trump had sought to protect from investigation. Scheduled grand jury testimony regarding Flynn was also postponed by prosecutors.

The charging document makes reference to two separate conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and to separate false statements prosecutors say he made regarding that communication.

Flynn, who once headed the Defense Intelligence Agency, also admitted he lied to investigators about secretly asking Kislyak on December 22 to defeat or delay a looming UN Security Council resolution to condemn Israel's settlements in Palestinian territory.

At President Barack Obama's direction, the United States abstained from voting on the resolution, a rare move that allowed the UN Security Council to unanimously condemn Israeli's settlement activity.

  • Myrtle Hill