US President Donald Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn on Friday pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI over possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during last year’s US presidential polls.
Flynn appeared before a federal court this morning to plead guilty after ex-FBI director Robert Mueller, who has been probing involvement of Trump’s team member in alleged Russian interference in last year’s presidential election, announced that Flynn was charged with “wilfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI about his conversations with Russia’s then ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak..
Flynn, a retired Army general who was fired from his White House post in February after revelations he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador, is a central figure in the federal investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Read: Who is Michael Flynn?
The charge against him is another escalation in an investigation that has cast a cloud over the Trump administration since the Republican president took office on Jan. 20.
In a filing with the US District Court for the District of Columbia, the office said Flynn made false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Jan. 24.
Flynn falsely told FBI officials that in December 2016 he did not ask Russia’s ambassador to the United States to refrain from escalating the situation after Washington had imposed sanctions on Moscow, according to the filing.
The sanctions were imposed by outgoing Democratic President Barack Obama.
Flynn, who was a senior adviser to Trump before the president took office, also falsely stated that he did not recall the Russian ambassador telling him that Moscow had chosen to moderate its response to U.S. sanctions as a result of his request, the document alleged.
The filing, dated Nov. 30, also said Flynn falsely stated that he did not ask the Russian ambassador earlier in December to delay a vote or defeat a pending U.N. Security Council resolution, and that the ambassador never described Russia’s response to his request.
Moscow has denied a conclusion by U.S. intelligence agencies that it meddled in the election campaign to try to sway the vote in Trump’s favor. Trump has denied any collusion by his campaign.
(With inputs from Reuters)