About a week ago, Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s attorneys cut ties with Trump’s legal team, and further reports indicated that Flynn’s lawyers were in fact holding talks with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. All of this led to speculation that Flynn was cutting a plea deal with the Justice Department in order to spare himself from becoming the next Paul Manafort, who was indicted on a wealth of charges including conspiracy against the U.S. CNN now reports that Flynn has pleaded guilty on one charge of lying to the FBI about his conversations with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak:
Special counsel Robert Mueller has charged former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn with “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI regarding conversations with Russia’s ambassador.
It’s safe to assume that Flynn worked out a generous plea deal here. And there’s every reason that he would be motivated to cooperate with Mueller, especially after he actively lobbied for Turkey during the election, among other reported offenses like allegedly brokering a Saudi-Russian business deal. Although the conversations with the Russian ambassador are what led to Flynn’s firing, that offense pales in comparison to his other alleged wrongs.
In other words, yes, Flynn — who is the first Trump administration member to be charged by the Justice Department — should be expected to aid Mueller as he probes other Trump associates over campaign collusion with Russia. There’s no word, however, if Michael Flynn Jr. will eventually see charges for his involvement as well. Perhaps we’ll hear about that soon.
CNBC’s Steve Kopack reports that Flynn’s hearing (where he will formally enter his plea) will occur at 10:30am EST. Business Insider’s Natasha Bertrand tweeted the document showing the filed charge, which you can see below.
Via ABC News, Flynn has issued a statement: “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.”
Here’s a CNN clip of Flynn’s arrival for his expected plea.