WASHINGTON — President Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, is expected to plead guilty on Friday to lying to the F.B.I. about two conversations with the Russian ambassador last December during the presidential transition.
The charges were the latest indication that Mr. Flynn was cooperating with the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. Mr. Flynn was scheduled to appear in federal court in Washington at 10:30 on Friday morning.
A plea deal with Mr. Flynn brings Mr. Mueller’s investigation into Mr. Trump’s inner circle. Such an agreement suggests that Mr. Flynn provided information to prosecutors, which may help advance the inquiry.
The development came at a particularly sensitive moment for the White House, just as Mr. Trump and Republican congressional leaders are toiling to hold together a tenuous coalition to push through a large tax cut plan. It marked an unwelcome headline at a time when the president’s team is hoping to focus public attention on what they argue is an impressive list of accomplishments in his first year.
The White House had no immediate response on Friday to requests for comment on Mr. Flynn’s guilty plea.
Mr. Flynn’s lawyers recently told the president’s legal team that they could no longer discuss the special counsel’s investigation as they had been — a sign that Mr. Flynn had decided to cooperate with the prosecution. The investigation has dogged Mr. Trump’s first year in office.
Mr. Flynn is the fourth Trump associate to be charged. He was accused of making false statements to F.B.I. agents about two discussions with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey I. Kislyak. Lying to the F.B.I. carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.
In one of the conversations described in court documents, the men discussed an upcoming United Nations Security Council vote on whether to condemn Israel’s building of settlements. At the time, the Obama administration was preparing to allow a Security Council vote on the matter.
Mr. Mueller’s investigators have learned through witnesses and documents that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the Trump transition team to lobby other countries to help Israel, according to two people briefed on the inquiry. Investigators have learned that Mr. Flynn and Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, took the lead in those efforts. Mr. Mueller’s team has emails that show Mr. Flynn saying he would work to kill the vote, the people briefed on the matter said.
In the other discussion, according to court documents, Mr. Flynn asked Mr. Kislyak that Moscow refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions announced by the Obama administration that day against Russia over its interference in the presidential election.
The F.B.I. interviewed Mr. Flynn at the White House four days after the president was sworn into office. American intelligence agencies had grown so concerned about Mr. Flynn’s communications with Mr. Kislyak and false accounts that he provided to Vice President Mike Pence that the acting attorney general at the time, Sally Q. Yates, warned the White House that its national security adviser might be compromised by the Russians.
Mr. Flynn served just 24 days, resigning on Feb. 13 after it was revealed that he had misled Mr. Pence and other top White House officials about his conversations with Mr. Kislyak.Read More...
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