Former U.S. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who was fired by President Donald Trump 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 office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller 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 contact with Russia’s ambassador.
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 after the Obama administration announced sanctions against Russia. He is also accused of lying when he denied asking the Russian ambassador to defeat a pending UN Security Council resolution.
Flynn turned himself in to the FBI on Friday morning and he is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras at the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C. at 10:30 a.m. ET. He is expected to plead guilty to one count of False Statements.
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 under the Trump 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 had insisted during TV interviews that Flynn had not discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed to investigate Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election, has so far charged 4 people.
George Papadopoulos, who served as a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with people claiming to have close ties with senior Russian officials. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his former business associate Rick Gates were indicted for alleged financial crimes unrelated to their work for Trump’s campaign.
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