[guest post by Dana]
Via ABC News:
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, once a member of President Trump’s inner circle of advisers, has pleaded guilty in a deal with the Special Counsel investigating foreign meddling in the 2016 elections in which he admits to lying to the FBI about his back-channel conversations with the Russian ambassador.
Flynn’s plea signals the former top adviser to President Trump is now cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team. A brief statement released by Mueller’s team Friday morning does not say what information Flynn has provided the government as part of the deal, but people familiar with the agreement told ABC News Friday he has made a decision to assist investigators.
Apparently, President Trump’s lack of support influenced Flynn’s decision to testify against him and members of the Trump family:
The general told confidants about his decision to plead guilty in the last 24 hours, according to people close to Flynn, who say the former adviser feels President Trump has abandoned him and has agreed to answer questions about the president or anyone else.
Reportedly, Flynn is also “prepared to testify that candidate Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians.”
ABC also reports that Flynn is willing to testify against Trump and members of the Trump family. Now, before everyone starts yelling “collusion,” the report said nothing about why Trump allegedly directed him to reach out to Russia. If it was contact for election collusion, that’s dire. I also think that’s highly unlikely. If it was contact to set the stage for post-election relations and cooperation, that’s far less problematic — unless members of the Trump administration (or Trump family) have been lying to the FBI about those contacts. So, we could be looking at less of a criminal conspiracy and more of a festival of lies surrounding a non-conspiracy. That’s at least consistent with the guilty pleas (Flynn and Papadopoulos) so far.
Today, Michael Flynn, a former National Security Adviser at the White House for 25 days during the Trump administration, and a former Obama administration official, entered a guilty plea to a single count of making a false statement to the FBI.
The false statements mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year. Nothing about the guilty plea nor the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn. The conclusion of this phase of the Special Counsel’s work demonstrates again that the Special Counsel is moving with all deliberate speed and clears the way for a prompt and reasonable conclusion.
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)
ABC News issued a correction Friday on a report published earlier in the day that stated former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was instructed by President Trump to contact Russians while Trump was still a candidate.
Instead, the “clarification” noted that Trump’s request came after the election – a significant detail as Trump would have been transitioning from campaign mode to preparing for the start of his administration.
“A clarification tonight on something one of Flynn’s confidants told us and we reported earlier today,” Brian Ross said during ABC News’ “World News Tonight” on Friday. “He said the president had asked Flynn to contact Russia during the campaign. He’s now clarifying that, saying according to Flynn, candidate Trump asked him during the campaign to find ways to repair relations with Russia and other hot spots, and then after the election, the President-elect asked him, told him to contact Russia on issues, including working together to fight ISIS.”
Thanks to Kevin M. for alerting me to ABC’s update.