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Former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, Charged with Lying to the FBI, and Pleads Guilty

12/01/2017

On November 30, 2017, a two-page criminal information was filed by Robert S. Mueller III’s Special Counsel’s Office, charging Michael Flynn with two counts of “willfully and knowingly” making “materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements” during his interview with FBI agents on January 24, 2017. During that interview Flynn allegedly told the FBI that he did not ask the Russian ambassador to refrain from retaliating to sanctions imposed on Russia by the Obama Administration and that he did not ask the Russian ambassador on December 22, 2016, to delay or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution. This new criminal information now indicates that Flynn did in fact have such conversations with the Russian ambassador and lied about them to the FBI. Flynn is the fourth Trump associate to be charged by the Special Counsel’s Office.

Less than twenty-four hours after the criminal information was filed by Mueller’s team, Flynn appeared in Federal Court in Washington D.C. on December 1, 2017, and pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI. Flynn has not yet been sentenced, but lying to the FBI carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

The quick series of events are evidence of cooperation and planning between the Special Counsel and Flynn. Considering the additional charges Flynn could have faced, the speed at which Flynn entered a guilty plea after the criminal information was filed, and the fact that he only plead guilty to one charge under his plea deal, all strongly indicate that Flynn may be offering significant information and cooperation to Mueller’s ongoing investigation and prosecutions. The New York Times reported in November that Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner, had stopped sharing information with President Trump’s legal team. From a prosecutor’s perspective, these developments may reflect that Mueller is planning for his next steps in the investigation to inch closer to the President and his inner circle.

A full copy of the Special Counsel’s criminal information can be found here.

For Schnader’s in-depth analysis of these issues and other updates about this case, also read “How the Federal Grand Jury Process Works”.