General Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Earlier this year he was relieved of his duties as National Security Adviser by President Trump for lying to Vice President Mike Pence.
The liberal press is promoting the idea that Trump and Pence will now be removed from office because Flynn has the goods on them and is “cooperating” with Special Counsel Mueller.
That issue is complex, but in a nutshell, it’s highly unlikely since as far as we know Flynn did nothing illegal upon the orders of Trump or anyone else.
Also, let’s remember that Flynn was Obama’s guy, appointed by Obama as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2012.
Ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI about meetings with Russia’s ambassador weeks before Donald Trump became president.
The charges were brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, as part of his inquiry into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.
Mr Flynn is the most senior member of the administration to be indicted.
He also revealed he was co-operating with Mr Mueller’s inquiry.
Significantly, a statement made by Mr Flynn to prosecutors appears to implicate a more senior, though unnamed, Trump team official – indicating the direction in which Mr Mueller’s investigation may be heading.
Numerous US media outlets said the senior official now under the spotlight is Jared Kushner – Mr Trump’s adviser and son-in-law.
The alt-right will not be sorry to see Kushner go. His duties have been throttled back for months now as he seems to be in over his head.
What happened in court?
Appearing in a federal court in Washington DC, he admitted to one count of knowingly making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements”.
According to an AFP reporter in court, the judge accepted Mr Flynn’s guilty plea and said he would not face trial.
Mr Flynn then issued a statement in which he said: “I recognise that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right”.
He said his plea and co-operation deal “reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country”. The retired Army lieutenant-general is unlikely to serve more than six months in prison.
The White House issued a statement saying that “nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr Flynn”. A presidential appearance in front of reporters was then cancelled.
As he was escorted from court by FBI agents, a handful of protesters shouted “criminal” and “lock him up”, echoing a chant he led against Hillary Clinton during the Republican party convention last year.
What are the charges?
Mr Flynn was forced to resign 23 days into his job in February, a month after he was questioned by the FBI for misleading the White House about meeting then Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak during the transition period, before Mr Trump took office.
Then, just over a week ago, US media said his legal team had told the president’s lawyers they could no longer discuss the case, prompting suggestions that he had begun co-operating with prosecutors.
It is not clear why he did not tell the truth to investigators. But it is illegal for a private US citizen, as Mr Flynn was during the transition, to conduct foreign affairs without the permission or involvement of the US government.
According to the charge sheet, Michael Flynn is accused of:
falsely telling FBI agents that on or about 29 December 2016 he did not ask Mr Kislyak to “refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day”
failing to recall that Mr Kislyak had later told him Russia was moderating its response to the sanctions as a result of his request
falsely saying that, on or about 22 December 2016, he did not ask Mr Kislyak to “delay the vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution”. The discussion came a day before the Obama administration decided not to veto a resolution asserting that Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory “had no legal validity”
making false statements about the Turkish government’s involvement and supervision of a project that his intelligence company was taking part in.
Mr Flynn is not the first former Trump official to be charged.
In October, Mr Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and his business associate Rick Gates were accused of conspiring to defraud the US in dealings with Ukraine (both deny the charges). Another ex-aide, George Papadopoulos, has also pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents
Mueller and Comey also sent Martha Stewart to prison for lying to the FBI.
More shortly on this story, which will be developing in the days and weeks ahead.