White House Plays Down Importance Of Flynn Guilty Plea
Dec 02, 2017, 00:37
"It was about the 35 guys who were thrown out", Flynn told the Daily Caller at the time. It was a dramatic moment.
The court documents provide the clearest picture yet of coordination between Flynn and other Trump advisers in contacting Russian officials to influence worldwide policy. While Trump has signaled he might go to war with Manafort, he has handled Flynn with kid gloves from Day One.
He is the first official who worked in the Trump White House to make a guilty plea in a wide-ranging investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller into possible co-ordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.
On Friday, this all came full circle.
An indictment filed by Mueller's office said Flynn "falsely stated" on December 29, 2016, that he did not ask Kislyak "to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russian Federation that same day", and that Flynn did not recall Kislyak "subsequently telling him that Russian Federation had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request".
Flynn, who has reportedly been at the center of Mueller's investigation for months, is perhaps the most high-profile person to be indicted to date. Trump's worst fears may soon be realized.
As per the charge sheet, 58-year-old Flynn, a retired general, lied when he told investigators that he did not ask Kislyak to "refrain from escalating the situation" in response to sanctions that then-president Barack Obama had imposed on Russian Federation, and that he did not ask the ambassador to either delay or defeat a related UN Security Council vote.
Flynn has been under investigation for a wide range of allegations, including his lobbying work on behalf of Turkey, but the fact that he was charged only with a single count of making false statements suggests he is cooperating with Mueller's investigation in exchange for leniency.
George Papadopoulos? Just a low-level "volunteer" for the campaign who wasn't even worth remembering for both President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The conventional wisdom around the charges against Manafort is that Mueller was trying to use them to get more information about possible collusion with Russian Federation. Meanwhile, Papadopoulos, a low-level campaign staffer, is already doing so, after he was nailed for lying about his own, repeated contacts with Russian Federation, including the fact that Russian Federation had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton and "thousands of emails".
Manafort was forced to step down as Trump's campaign chairman in May 2016 after coming under fire for his connections to Russian oligarchs and his past lobbying efforts overseas.
As Trump's chief national security campaign aide throughout 2016, Flynn could have a lot to say about all this.
Three others have been charged in the Mueller probe.
Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser to the president, has pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in regard to a meeting with a Russian ambassador a year ago and will cooperate with investigators, according to reports.
But Trump has repeatedly rejected that view.
Flynn faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, according to federal sentencing guidelines, though the judge Friday morning stressed he could impose a harsher or lighter sentence.
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