Former U.S. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who was fired over his contact with Russia’s ambassador, has been charged with making a false statement to the FBI. He is due to appear in court later on Friday.
The Special Counsel’s office said Flynn did “willfully and knowingly” make materially false and fraudulent statements and representations when he told agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador.
A plea hearing for Flynn has been scheduled for 10:30 a.m. ET on Friday at the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C.
According to court documents, Flynn lied when he told the FBI that he did not ask the Russian ambassador to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions the Obama administration had imposed against Russia. He also lied about other aspects of his contact with Russia’s ambassador, the special counsel’s office said.
Flynn came under scrutiny in late January when U.S. intelligence officials began looking into a claim that he had discussed U.S. sanctions during a phone call with Russia’s ambassador on December 29, the day the Obama administration announced new sanctions against Russia.
Flynn denied the reports, but U.S. officials told the Washington Post in February that Flynn’s call with Russia’s ambassador was interpreted by some as an ‘inappropriate and potentially illegal signal’ to Russia that it could expect a reprieve from sanctions that were being imposed by the Obama administration.
Flynn was forced to resign on February 13, admitting in his resignation letter that he had mistakenly provided “incomplete information” to Vice President Mike Pence, who initially insisted during TV interviews that Flynn had not discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador.
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