Friday morning, former national security adviser Michael Flynn was taken into federal custody. He has been charged with “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI in respect to his conversations with senior Russian diplomat Sergey Kislyak.
Flynn turned himself into authorities and appeared before a court hearing this morning, where he pleaded guilty.
NEWS: FLYNN will plead GUILTY to making false statements to the FBI about his conversations with KISLYAK pic.twitter.com/581L2ANkfH
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) December 1, 2017
Flynn’s guilty plea suggests that he is cooperating with the investigation by the special counsel, and may be providing them with information that will help advance the inquiry.
Lying to the FBI carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.
According to court documents, Flynn told authorities in January that he had not spoken with Kislyak about Russian sanctions implemented by the Obama administration in December 2016. But truthfully, Flynn had spoken to Kislyak, and asked him not to escalate the situation, as the Trump administration would “revisit [the sanctions] at a later time.”
Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates previously testified earlier this year that the White House was indeed aware of Flynn’s conversations with the Russians as far back as January. Before Yates was fired by Trump on January 30, she had warned the White House and a senior Justice Department official that “Gen. Flynn was compromised with respect to the Russians.”
Flynn also may have not been up front about talks of lobbying efforts with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and for payments he received from foreign governments while working for the Trump campaign.