President Donald Trump’s disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI Friday, The Hill reports.
Flynn pleaded guilty to lying the FBI at least four times about conversations and meetings he had with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Flynn pleaded guilty to “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” about his communications with Kislyak.
The retired 58-year-old general who spent three decades in the Army reportedly lied about discussing American sanctions against Russia with Kislyak while Obama was still president. He also apparently tried to get Russia to vote against or delay a United Nations vote to condemn illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, when the Obama administration abstained from the vote.
Flynn is the first member of the Trump administration to be charged in the Bob Mueller probe and the fourth member of the Trump campaign to be indicted.
Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his top deputy, Rick Gates, were indicted on a number of counts related to money laundering last month.
It was also revealed last month that former Trump campaign foreign adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with Kremlin-linked officials.
The White House has not commented on the latest developments. An administration adviser told CNN that this was not unexpected.
“Poor judgment. But this was expected. Trump fired him for lying to (Vice President Mike Pence). Of course, he lied to the FBI, too,” the source told the network.
“Another source, who is close to President Donald Trump, attempted to downplay the severity of the charge against Flynn by noting that lying in Washington is not new,” CNN reports. “The source maintained that he was still not worried about any potential cooperation between Flynn and the prosecutors.”
Flynn, who led “lock her up” chants at the Republican National Convention last summer, lasted less than a month in the administration after he lied to Pence and then-chief of staff Reince Priebus about his discussions with Kislyak.
Former FBI Director James Comey testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee that Trump urged him to drop the investigation into Flynn in February, after Flynn resigned.
Flynn’s conversations were captured by routine American eavesdropping targeting Kislyak. Those conversations were later leaked, proving that Flynn lied.
The conversations were brought to the White House, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates revealed in her testimony to the Senate.
Yates told Congress that the Department of Justice “believed that General Flynn was compromised with respect to the Russians” because of his false denials.
According to the charging documents, Flynn falsely told the FBI he did not ask Kislyak “to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day; and Flynn did not recall the Russian ambassador subsequently telling him that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request.”
All of this could spell big trouble for Trump, who was with Flynn constantly on the campaign trail and in the very early days of the administration.
In March, Flynn’s lawyer said, “General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit.”