Flynn guilty plea raises questions for Trump, Kushner

Former U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn departs U.S. District Court after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the United States in Washington U.S

Former U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn departs U.S. District Court after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the United States in Washington U.S

Gen. Michael Flynn, who briefly served as President Trump's national security advisor, pleaded guilty Friday to a single count of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about contacts with the Russian ambassador.

The retired army general agreed to co-operate with special counsel Robert Mueller's probe, which has seen four Trump associates charged so far.

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

"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", he said in a statement.

Flynn's only comments were to answer yes and no to questions from the judge in the court. This follows the guilty plea of a Trump campaign aide; charges against a Trump campaign manager; and charges against a key aide to the Trump campaign and transition.

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.

The White House rejected the idea that Flynn could implicate Trump for collusion with Moscow, even as court documents said that Flynn had been told by "senior" members of the presidential transition team to make contact with the Russians. "I accept full responsibility for my actions", he said.

The documents allege that Flynn lied about conversations with the Russian Ambassador at the time, Sergei Kislyak.

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The charges against Flynn relate to a series of discussions the general had last December, during the presidential transition, when he reportedly told Kislyak that Trump's White House might go easy on sanctions against Russian Federation that were imposed by President Obama and asked Kislyak to sabotage a United Nations resolution on Israel that Obama's White House supported.

Yates said she had had "two in-person meetings and one phone call" with the White House counsel, Don McGahn, in January about Flynn.

The court filings on Friday also show that Flynn was working with other members of the Trump transition team when he spoke to Kislyak about U.S. sanctions against Russian Federation.

Flynn and the official discussed that the transition team did not want Russian Federation to escalate the situation, according to the filings, and Flynn called Kislyak immediately after his conversation with the transition official to request that "Russia not escalate the situation and only respond to the U.S. sanctions in a reciprocal manner".

Warner, the ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, was asked whether he believes Flynn will implicate President Trump.

This past Valentine's Day, President Trump asked then FBI Director James Comey to stick around following a meeting with a group of national security officials in the Oval Office. His business dealings and foreign interactions have made him a central focus of Mueller's investigation.

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos became the first to plead guilty to lying about his contact with the Russians back in October. Trump, who publicly fretted about his desire to have Mueller wrap up his investigation sooner rather than later, and who supposedly will "blow a gasket" if he isn't exonerated by year's end, will now watch as Mueller proceeds full steam ahead, bolstered by Flynn's input.

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