Former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI

Michael T. Flynn

President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty Friday morning to lying to the FBI about his post-election discussions with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.

Flynn is the first Trump administration official and the fourth connected to the campaign to be charged as part of Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and members of Trump’s team, as well as potential obstruction of justice and financial crimes.

Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates were indicted last month; they pleaded not guilty. And Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty for making a false statement to the FBI over contacts with officials connected to the Russian government.

Flynn’s guilty charge is the first in Mueller’s probe that has reached someone in the Trump White House and is the latest sign that the special counsel investigation is intensifying.

The charges mark yet another stunning downfall for Flynn, 58, a retired general who rose to the highest ranks of the Army over a three-decade career — only to see him drummed out of the military by the Obama administration before unexpectedly rising again on the heels of Trump’s election victory.

A key campaign surrogate and adviser during President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, Flynn was tapped as Trump’s national security adviser in November 2016, a senior White House job that put him in a vital role for all of the administration’s national security and foreign policy decisions.

Flynn would hold the job less than a month, resigning from the post after he misled Vice President Mike Pence and then-chief of staff Reince Priebus about his conversations with then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak in which they discussed US sanctions against Russia.