Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser of President Donald Trump pleaded guilty to lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
He is now cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into allegations that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential elections. The Special Counsel is also looking into allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russians.
On Friday, Flynn answered yes or no to the questions of the judge. He also made it clear that the FBI did not coerce him or did not promise him a specific sentence. Flynn pleaded guilty to one felony count of lying to the FBI regarding his conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak last year.
Based on the federal sentencing guidelines, the maximum sentence for such offense is five years in prison. The federal judge indicated that he could impose a more lenient or tougher sentence against Flynn.
Flynn said his decision is in the best interest of his family and country
In a statement, Flynn said the “false accusations of treason and other outrageous acts” against him has been “extraordinarily painful to endure.” According to him, those false allegations were contrary to the principles he stood for during his 33 years of military service.
Additionally, Flynn said, “I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong… I accept full responsibility for my actions.”
Moreover, he said, he is working to correct his mistake through his faith in God. His guilty plea and decision to cooperate with the Special Counsel’s office is in the best interest of his family and the United States.
Reaction from the White House
Political observers suggest that Flynn’s guilty plea indicates that the Special Counsel’s Russian probe is getting deeper. Aside from him, three other individuals connected to the Trump campaign were charged as part of the Russian investigation.
In October, George Papadopolous, a former foreign policy adviser to Trump campaign pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. He agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel’s office in the Russia probe.
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates surrendered to the Special Counsel. They were charged with 12 counts related to money laundering and one count of conspiracy against the United States.
On Friday, the White House issued a statement indicating that Flynn’s guilty plea does not implicate anyone.
According to White House attorney Ty Cobb, “The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year. Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn.”