'Thanks for the support' says Mike Flynn's son as his father takes refuge with his family after becoming Mueller's star witness
- Mike Flynn was seen arriving at son's Alexandria, Virginia home on Friday, hours after pleading guilty at a federal court
- Michael Flynn Jr, who was at one point a target for investigators early on, was not present at the court hearing
- Flynn Jr took to Twitter after the hearing to share a photo of him and his son, thanking 'everyone for the support' and reminding to not take their family 'for granted'
- Mueller's office charged him with making 'false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements' - an offense which carries a maximum sentence of five years
- Criminal information says he made false statements to the FBI just four days after Trump took office
- He lied about what he had said to then Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, the information?from the special counsel says??
Former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn took refuge at his son's home hours after entering a bombshell guilty plea in federal court on Friday morning.
The ex Army lieutenant general, who is now facing five years in prison for making false statements to the FBI, was greeted by son Mike Flynn Jr and his grandson in Alexandria, Virginia.?
Flynn's plea marks a major breakthrough in the ongoing federal Russia probe, spearheaded by special counsel Robert Mueller.?
According to information released by Mueller's office, Flynn willfully made 'false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements in a matter within the jurisdiction' of the U.S. government, including the FBI.??
'My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the special counsel's office reflect a decision I made in the best interest of my family and of our country. I accept full responsibility for my actions,' Flynn said in a statement on Friday.?
The 59-year-old arrived at his son's home with wife Lori Andrade and appeared to have changed into more casual attire, wearing a windbreaker and sunglasses.
Mike Flynn Jr, who worked alongside his father on the presidential transition and the Trump campaign,?was not present at the court hearing on Friday. #
He took to Twitter on Friday afternoon to ?say, 'Family is the most important thing in life.....don't ever take yours for granted,' and thanked 'everyone for the support.'
Dad's home! Michael Flynn was seen taking refuge at his son Michael Flynn Jr's house, in Alexandria, Virginia, hours after pleading guilty?
Flynn was joined by his wife Lori Andrade, who was present at the court hearing Friday morning, as they arrived at their son's home?
Michael Flynn Jr (seen ushering his father inside) who was a person of interest to investigators early on, was not present at the court hearing?
Here to deal: Mike Flynn and his wife Lori arrived in court in Washington D.C. to plead guilty to a federal judge of lying to the FBI. He faces five years - but is almost certain to have made a deal with Robert Mueller which could implicate others
Investigators early on focused not only on Flynn, but also on his son, who is known to have?accompanied his father on his 2015 trip to Moscow.?
Flynn Jr also acted briefly as his father's chief of staff during the transition, but?was let go by the Trump team last December.?
Although he pleaded guilty to just a single count, it is what Flynn was prepared to tell investigators that immediately exploded across the political landscape.???
Flynn has promised to provide 'full cooperation' to?Mueller's team, ABC News reported.?
Flynn is facing extraordinary legal and financial pressures. According to the report, he was facing 'serious financial problems' and wanted to do the 'right thing for his country.'?
Flynn Jr, who was once a target in the Mueller probe, posed with his son in a tweet to 'thank everyone for the support'
Mike Flynn Jr (pictured with his father, left and wife, right) who worked alongside his father on the presidential transition and the Trump campaign, was not present at the court hearing on Friday. ?Investigators early on focused on Flynn Jr who is known to have accompanied his father on his 2015 trip to Moscow
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office charged Flynn with lying to the FBI about Russia as well as efforts to derail a UN Security Council resolution, in the second major legal action against a top Trump campaign or White House official.
Flynn said in a statement: 'After over thirty-three years of military service to our country including five years in combat away from my family and then my decision to continue to serve the United States, it has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of treason and other outrageous acts.'
'Such false accusations are contrary to everything I’ve ever done and stood for,' Flynn said.
'But I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong. Through my faith in God I am working to set things right. My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the special counsel’s office reflect a decision I made in the best interest of my family and of our country. I accept full responsibility for my actions,' he continued.?????
White House lawyer Ty Cobb issued a blistering statement calling Flynn – who as a defense intelligence official was fired by President Obama only to be hired by Trump – a 'former Obama administration official.??
'Today, Michael Flynn, a former National Security Advisor 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,' said Cobb.
'The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year. Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn,' the president's lawyer said.
'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.'?
Guilty: Criminal liar Mike Flynn arrives at court in Washington D.C. to plead guilty to lying to the FBI, an offense carrying up to five years in prison
Family support: Mike Flynn's wife Lori was at his side as he arrived in court. The two were high school sweethearts and married in 1981
According to a statement of the offense released by Mueller's office, Flynn on December 29, 2016 called a member of Trump's presidential transition team, who was with other senior transition members at Mar-a-Lago.
Flynn and the officials discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia, as well as 'the potential impact of those sanctions on the incoming administration’s foreign policy goals’ and that members of the transition ‘did not want Russia to escalate the situation.’?
Immediately after the call, according to the statement of offense, Flynn called Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak and requested that Russia 'not escalate the situation.'?
On December 30, just days later, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a statement stating Russia would not take retaliatory action – the preference Flynn heard about from Mar-a-Lago.?
A judge accepted Flynn's guilty plea Friday morning, CNN reported. The maximum sentence is five years.?
'Yes, sir,' Flynn, a retired three-star general said when the judge asked about his guilty plea.??
Judge Rudolph Contreras accepted the plea and said: 'There will be no trial and there will be probably no appeal,' AFP reported.?
Flynn arrived at court in Washington, D.C., with his wife Lori at his side.?
This is it: Rober Muller is netting his biggest fish as he takes down Mike Flynn, who was Trump's National Security Advisor, with a guilty plea to a small count - a clear sign a deal is in the works
Received the lies: Sergey Kislyak was Russia's ambassador to the U.S. when Flynn spoke to him before Trump's inauguration. Four days later Flynn lied to the FBI about what he said to the Putin diplomat
The nature of the charge, which did not come from a federal grand jury, immediately raised the possibility of a guilty plea that would involve cooperation with Mueller's expansive probe.
The stunning development put? a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general and close friend of the president in a criminal courtroom and planting the sprawling investigation led by the no-nonsense former FBI director squarely in the White House.
It also brought to fruition something the president sought to avoid. Fired FBI Director James Comey testified that Trump told him February 14 about Flynn: 'I hope you can let this go.'
TEAM TRUMP FOR PRISON 2018: THE AIDES FACING JAIL ALREADY - SO WHO WILL MUELLER TARGET NEXT?
Trump campaign manager March - August 2016
Manafort, 68, was charged with conspiracy against the US, conspiracy to launder, and other charges, after US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia undertook a campaign of hacking and misinformation to tilt the election in Trump's favor. He pleaded not guilty in October to a 12-count indictment by a federal grand jury.
Business associate and deputy to Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort?
Gates, 45, was indicted along with his business associate, Paul Manafort after the first charges from the probe of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election were unsealed. He pleaded not guilty to a 12-count indictment?
Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, March 2016 - January 2017
Papadopoulos, 30, pleaded guilty on October 5 to making false statements to investigators about his conversations with overseas sources about potential Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton.?
Flynn's hearing took place before U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras at a D.C. federal courthouse.
According to the information, which includes just a single count, Flynn lied just days before President Trump took office about his contacts with Russia's then ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.
Mueller's team has been investigating Russian interference in the U.S. elections, as well as possible obstruction of justice and other issues.
According to the feds, Flynn stated that on December 29 he 'did not ask the Government of Russia's Ambassador to the United States ('Russian Ambassador') to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day.'
That relates to the sanctions President Obama slapped on Russia shortly before leaving office for election interference.
Flynn also stated that he 'did not recall the Russian Ambassador subsequently telling him that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request.'?
Russia ultimately chose that course of action, failing to retaliate even after Obama confiscated diplomatic compounds that Trump would later return.
Flynn's contacts with Russia took place while the prior administration was already in place – and Trump and his team did not yet have formal governing power.
Flynn also stated that in an additional instance, on December 22, 2016, he 'did not ask the Russian Ambassador to delay the vote on or defeat a pending United National Security Council resolution; and that the Russian Ambassador subsequently never described to Flynn Russia's response to his request.'
The Security Council resolution condemned Israel for new settlement activity. In a rare diplomatic break from a key ally, the Obama administration abstained from the resolution.
According to a report in Foreign Policy, Trump's transition team vigorously tried to lobby against the resolution, breaking with tradition that the U.S. government speak with one diplomatic voice.
Flynn himself called foreign ambassadors of security council members, including Uruguay and Malaysia.?
According to the information, Flynn made his false statements to the FBI on January 24 of this year – just four days after Trump took office.?
According to the statement of offense, a 'very senior' member of the transition 'directed' Flynn to reach out to foreign leaders about the UN resolution – 'including Russia' – to find out where the leaders stood.?
Lying to the FBI is a felony charge which carries a fine and up to five years in prison.
In March, Flynn's attorney, Robert Kellner, stated with respect to congressional investigators probing Russia that 'General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit,' implying a willingness to cooperate.
Investigators early on focused not only on Flynn, but on his son, Michael Flynn, Jr.
CNN reported last month that Flynn was concerned about legal exposure born by his son.
The information released by the FBI does not mention other areas reportedly under investigation – including including potential violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Flynn filed amended reports after disclosures of work he had done on behalf of the government of Turkey.
A critical person in Trump's campaign and national security team, Flynn was present for consequential decisions during the formative days of the administration and functioned as a main conduit for contacts with Russian officials.?
He could be an essential witness for Mueller as he investigates potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.
In recent days White House lawyers have downplayed the significance of Flynn's legal troubles for the president, drawing a clear line between Flynn's personal baggage and his work on the Trump campaign and the administration.
The feeling of suspense around the Mueller investigation only deepened this week with the cancellation of grand jury testimony, an ABC News report that Flynn's attorney was meeting with Mueller's team and the revelation Wednesday that Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, had been questioned about Flynn earlier this month by special counsel prosecutors.
The cutting of contact with Trump's legal team came last week after Kushner was questioned by Mueller's investigators, which occurred earlier this month.
The questioning was brief - 90 minutes or less - and tightly focused on Flynn. It was in part aimed at determining whether Kushner had any exculpatory information on Flynn, according to a person familiar with Mueller's investigation.?
Kushner and Flynn were both prominent figures in the Trump campaign, the presidential transition and the early days of the Trump administration.
The two also took part in discussions during the presidential transition with Sergey Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the United States at the time, about establishing a backchannel between the two countries, a possible indication of prosecutors' interest given Mueller's mandate to probe contacts between Trump associates and the Kremlin.
Flynn was forced to resign from the White House in February after officials concluded that he had misled them about his contacts with Kislyak during the transition period.?
Weeks before he was fired, he was interviewed by the FBI about that communication, and former FBI Director James Comey has said Flynn was under investigation for potentially lying to federal agents about the nature of their conversation.
Mueller's grand jury had planned in coming days to hear testimony from an employee of a public relations company that worked with Flynn's firm on $530,000 worth of lobbying and investigative research for a Turkish businessman.?
The testimony was slated to focus on Flynn's firm's interactions with congressional staff. But it was abruptly postponed by prosecutors.
The details of Kushner's questioning and the postponement of the grand jury testimony were confirmed by people familiar with Mueller's investigation.?
They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the ongoing investigation.
Asked about the meeting with Mueller, Kushner's attorney, Abbe Lowell, did not elaborate on the nature of the question, saying only in a statement his client 'has voluntarily cooperated with all relevant inquiries and will continue to do so.'
Mueller's spokesman, Peter Carr, has yet to comment on the special counsel's ongoing investigation that has now stretched into its seventh month.
Instead, the special counsel has decided to speak in indictments and plea agreements. In the meantime, Washington - and the country - wait for the next one.
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