The United States’ former national security adviser pleaded guilty Friday to making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI.
Michael Flynn is the first official from President Donald Trump’s administration to plead guilty in an investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The special counsel is examining possible ties between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign in 2016.
Flynn admitted to lying about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, before Trump’s inauguration. Court papers make clear that Flynn knows the identities of members of Trump’s transition team that had detailed knowledge of his outreach to Russia.
U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras said Flynn is cooperating with the investigation. The judge added that the government will decide how effectively Flynn is cooperating as part of a plea agreement.
In a statement, Flynn said, “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.”
Trump did not respond to shouted questions from reporters Friday as he welcomed Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al Sarraj to the White House.
White House lawyer Ty Cobb said, “Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn.” Cobb noted that Flynn only worked in the White House for 25 days.
Flynn was an early Trump campaign supporter. And the president had previously referred to Flynn as a “wonderful man.” Flynn was forced to resign in February. White House officials said he had misled them about the meeting with the Russian ambassador.
Former FBI Director James Comey was leading an investigation into possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. After his dismissal in May, Comey testified before Congress that Trump told him that he “hoped” he would cancel an investigation into Flynn’s possible connections to Russian officials. But the White House has denied that was the case.
Comey’s dismissal led to the appointment of Mueller as special counsel.
In October, the grand jury indicted Paul Manafort, who served as Trump’s campaign chairman and Rick Gates, also a top campaign official. George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser for the campaign, also admitted to lying about his contacts with Russian nationals.
I'm Caty Weaver.
Hai Do wrote this story for VOA Learning English with reporting from the Associated Press. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Words in This Story
transition - n. a change from one administration to another
implicate - v. to show that someone is closely connected to a crime
indict - v. to formally decide that someone should be put on trial for a crime