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ABC News: Michael Flynn Is Expected To Testify That Trump Directed Him To Communicate With Russians [UPDATED]

UPDATE: Several hours after this story, ABC News issued what they called an on-air “clarification” (which is really a “correction”) pointing out that Trump did not direct Flynn to contact Russia as a candidate but as a president-elect:

“[A] clarification tonight on something one of Flynn’s confidants told us and we reported earlier today. He said the president had asked Flynn to contact Russia during the campaign. He’s now clarifying that saying, according to Flynn, candidate Trump asked him during the campaign to find ways to repair relations with Russia and other world hot spots. And then after the election, the president-elect asked him to contact Russia on issues including working together to fight ISIS.”

The network also pulled the below video clip code from Twitter.

Following several call-outs from members of the press, ABC News tweeted this text while finally using the term “correction”:

*****

On Friday, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty on one charge of lying to the FBI about his talks with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. It was a development that reportedly came to President Trump’s attention via news reports, and this signaled a sweet deal for Flynn along with the virtual certainly that he’d switched teams and will aid Robert Mueller in the Justice Department’s Russia probe. As ABC News reveals in the above clip, Flynn is kicking this cooperation off with a bombshell.

As Brian Ross reports to George Stephanopoulos, Flynn has promised his “full cooperation” and is expected to testify that candidate Trump “directed him to make contact with the Russians.” If this report is true, there’s no doubt that Flynn has flipped and will soon start throwing other campaign associates (Jared Kushner? Don Jr?) under the bus regarding collusion with Russia. Certainly, it’s a move geared toward self-preservation after Flynn witnessed the plentiful indictment charges that Mueller brought against Paul Manafort. Following the Manafort indictment, Trump (who has repeatedly denied awareness of Russian interference) tweet-insisted that there was “NO COLLUSION!”

In the meantime, CNN is noting that Flynn has also accused a “senior Trump transition official” of guiding him on his talks with Kislyak:

Prosecutors in court read the statement of offense that Michael Flynn signed. There are details beyond the information sheet that describe Flynn conversations with senior Trump officials during the transition and also with Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.

According the FBI statement, Flynn communicated with Kislyak after being asked by a senior Trump transition official to find out how foreign governments stood on the coming UN Security Council resolution about Israel.

The LA TImes reports the overall response from Trump attorney Ty Cobb, who seems to believe that Flynn has nothing on Trump:

“The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year. Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn. 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.”

Also of note? Cobb referred to Flynn as “a former Obama administration official.” (Yet Obama fired Flynn before warning Trump against hiring him.)

For his part, Flynn had plenty of incentive to cooperate, especially considering that Mueller may have let him off the hook lobbying for Turkey during the election. The retired general has now issued a statement via ABC News: “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 our country. I accept full responsibility for my actions.” You can read his full statement below.

(Via ABC News, CNN & LA Times)

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