Dem Intel Committee Leaders Stress Need For Independence After Flynn Plea

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Former national security adviser Michael Flynn will reportedly testify in court that President Donald Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians.

The FBI folded Flynn into an official investigation into the possibility that Team Trump colluded with Russia, an inquiry that began in July 2016 after the us intelligence community picked up reports of a pattern of odd contacts between the Trump campaign and an assortment of Russians.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office announced the charge before Flynn appeared in a Virginia courtroom Friday morning to enter the plea.

In a statement, Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general said he accepted responsibility for his actions and added: "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".

Flynn, responding to questions from the Washington Post, once again denies any discussions with Kislyak about sanctions.

Asked by Contreras how he would plead, Flynn said simply, "Guilty, your honor".

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We don't think how many points we are in front of them, how many points we are behind the leader. We don't think about how many points we are ahead of them or behind the leader".

Flynn is the fourth former Trump associate to face charges in the investigation, the first who actually served in Trump's White House. The Statement of the Offense included important new details, including that Flynn was directed by a senior transition official to contact Russian officials in an effort to influence Russia's response to the Obama Administration's imposition of sanctions and the UN Security Council resolution vote on Israeli settlements, and, crucially, that he reported back to transition officials. "I think it goes well beyond the fact that he just lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation", said Warner.

Flynn was an early and vocal Trump supporter on the campaign trail and was present for consequential moments in the campaign, the following transition period and the early days of Trump's presidency, making him a valuable potential tool for prosecutors and agents. Only then, with top-level approval to discuss sanctions, did Flynn call the Russian ambassador. They also extend to false statements that Flynn made in regard to his company, the Flynn Intel Group, in connection with his work as a lobbyist and consultant to the government of Turkey. Flynn's decision to admit to these lies and cooperate with the Special Counsel occurred, if press reports are to be believed, with the backdrop of broad legal exposure by Flynn, in addition to his son.

"Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Flynn".

The documents allege that Flynn lied about conversations with the Russian Ambassador at the time, Sergei Kislyak. In his resignation letter on 13 February, Flynn wrote that "because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador". The following day, Flynn spoke to a "senior official" on the transition team at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort to discuss "what, if anything, to communicate to the Russian Ambassador about the United States sanctions", according to the documents.

Mueller's investigators have interviewed members of Trump's family, his top advisors, business partners and lawyers over their actions.

Warner noted that it's the second Trump campaign associate to plead guilty to making false statements, while former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy are facing a slew of charges.

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