Michael Flynn to Plead Guilty Over False Statements to Federal Bureau of Investigation

President Donald Trump's former top advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation over his contacts with Russian Federation, in a dramatic escalation of the probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

ABC suggests Flynn could testify that Trump directed him to make contact with Russian operatives during the campaign; meanwhile, a report by NBC suggests Jared Kushner could be a person of interest in the investigation by Robert Mueller's team.

With his guilty plea, Flynn became the first person who worked in the Trump White House to admit guilt as part of a broad investigation being led by Mueller, who is investigating alleged coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 election, the AP said.

That is, undoubtedly, why Trump made his special plea to Comey in February, why Trump fired Comey and why the White House has circled the wagons against Mueller's Russiagate investigation.

Mr Flynn had been taking directions from Jared Kushner Donald Trump’s son-in-law
Mr Flynn had been taking directions from Jared Kushner Donald Trump’s son-in-lawEVAN VUCCI AP

Flynn, who served in Donald Trump's administration for just 24 days before being forced to resign for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his Russian Federation contacts, could be sentenced to up to five years in prison.

Next, Flynn can tell Mueller what, if anything, he knows about the contacts between Russian Federation and a series of Trump officials in 2016, including meetings, emails, phone calls and trips involving Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Carter Page, Roger Stone and George Papadopoulos.

Three others have been charged in the Mueller probe. At a time when tensions were hightened between the United States and Russia, Flynn was asked about whether he discussed sanctions against the country with the ambassador before he took office.

Flynn had told Pence and other White House officials that he had merely spoken to the then-Russian ambassador about their winter holidays when in reality the two men had discussed the Obama administration's sanctions against Moscow.

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Court documents say Flynn was instructed by "a senior official of the Presidential Transition Team" to discuss holding back on retaliation with Kislyak.

The full ramifications of this revelation are not immediately known, but may pertain to the scope of cooperation the Trump administration has had with Mueller's investigation.

Mueller's charging documents state bluntly that Flynn interfered with the FBI's inquiry into Trump-Russia collusion. Scheduled grand jury testimony regarding Flynn was also postponed by prosecutors.

Flynn is now accused of "willfully and knowingly" making "false, fictitious and fraudulent statements" to the feds.

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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. The rest of the 15-nation council, including Russian Federation, voted unanimously against Israel.

After more procedural wrangling, the vote occurred a day later.

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