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US Former National Security Adviser Pleads Guilty in Russian Probe

US Former National Security Adviser Pleads Guilty in Russian Probe

Saturday, 2 December, 2017 - 09:30
Former U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn departs U.S. District Court, where he was expected to plead guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the United States, in Washington, U.S., December 1, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

In recent developments in the case of Russian involvement in US presidential elections, Former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI and he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to investigators about the conversations he had with then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak in December 2016.

Special counsel Robert Mueller accused Flynn of previously lying about his contacts with Russia, after which the national security adviser appeared before Judge Rudolph Contrera who accepted his guilty plea.

“There will be no trial and there will be probably no appeal," added the judge.

Flynn was the first member of Trump’s administration to plead guilty, and later issued a statement admitting to his wrongfully-done actions. He added that he agreed to cooperate with the investigation by Mueller.

"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," the statement said.

Flynn said accusations against him are false, but he felt cooperating was in the best interest of his family.

The charging documents uncover the false statements that Flynn now admits having made during an FBI interview on January 24, 2017.

White House belittled the accusation confirming that there was nothing in the court hearing that pointed to any evidence against President Donald Trump, claiming that Flynn was not a very important member of the administration.

White House attorney Ty Cobb stressed that the guilty plea only implicates Flynn: "nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn."

Flynn only served as Trump’s national security adviser for 24 days, after which he was forced to resign for accusations of misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his discussions with Ambassador Kislyak.

Observers believe that his guilty admission may be an attempt to cooperate with Mueller's team.

Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley said on Fox News that the situation is still not very clear and whether it was part of a deal.

He admitted: "we simply don't know" whether Flynn is giving "deliverables" to Mueller on other Trump associates".

Court documents revealed that Flynn admitted to urging Kislyak not to hit back at new US sanctions on Russia during a meeting in December 2016, after Trump won the election. He also acknowledged he had asked the Russian ambassador to delay a vote on a UN security council resolution in the same month.

Legal analysts explained that Flynn's position enabled him to meet with foreign officials and diplomats and the case is not meeting with the Russian ambassador, but rather lying about it to the FBI.

Flynn is the fourth person of Trump's close circle accused by Mueller after Paul Manafort, who ran Trump’s presidential campaign for several months last year, Richard Gates and George Papadopoulos.

Manafort was charged in October with conspiring to launder money, conspiracy against the US, however he never joined the Trump administration.

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