Former US NSA pleads guilty to lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation

Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn leaves federal court in Washington Friday Dec. 1 2017

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort surrendered to federal authorities on October 30 after he was indicted, along with his business associate Rick Gates, on 12 counts, including conspiracy against the U.S. and money laundering.

These were credulity-straining defenses offered by the White House in the face of charges against Manafort and Papadopoulos.

Flynn is scheduled to plea guilty at a hearing later on Friday, 1 December.

Sally Yates, the acting attorney general, goes to the White House and warns White House counsel Donald McGahn that Flynn has misled administration officials about his contacts with Kislyak and is potentially subject to Russian blackmail. Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.

Trump names Flynn as his national security advisor. The polar opposite approaches have been striking.

Flynn has promised special counsel Robert Mueller his full cooperation as he pleads guilty to lying to the FBI, ABC News' Brian Ross reported on Friday.

Flynn admitted he lied to FBI investigators about his private discussions at the end of December 2016 with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, about U.S. sanctions imposed on Moscow by the administration of then president Barack Obama. Flynn described to them how Russian Federation would not retaliate for the sanctions following team Trump's request.

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The substance behind the charges isn't hugely surprising.

Flynn then called Kislyak to ask that Russian Federation not respond too harshly to USA sanctions.

Trump ignored reporters' shouted questions as he welcomed the Libyan prime minister to the White House, and aides canceled media access to a later meeting between the two.

At the time, though, it wasn't clear that charges would be filed against Flynn, because of how the word "sanctions" could be parsed.

The bulk of the back-and-forth calls described in court papers, from Flynn to the Russian ambassador and to Trump advisers, happened while the advisers were at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.

"It wasn't about sanctions".

In the Security Council case, Flynn was told by "a very senior member" of the transition team to press Russian Federation to stall or block the vote, the court documents show. It was basically: 'Look, I know this happened.

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The sanctions were ordered in response to "aggressive harassment of United States officials and cyber operations aimed at the United States election", Obama said in a statement on December 29, 2016.

The relatively minor false-statement charge suggests that Flynn is divulging information to Mueller that could implicate figures even further up the chain of command.

Since taking over the investigation, Mueller's team has charged four people once affiliated with the Trump campaign or administration. The charges themselves had nothing to do with the campaign, but instead had to do with Manafort's business dealings.

Ty Cobb also pointed out that Flynn worked in the White House for only 25 days and was a "former Obama administration official".

"Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn", he said.

Asked by Contreras how he would plead, Flynn said simply, "Guilty, your honor".

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