Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has been charged with making false statements to the FBI, Special Counsel Robert Mueller revealed in court documents filed on Friday.
Flynn, a retired lieutenant general, pleaded guilty to the charges at a plea hearing in Washington, D.C. on Friday morning.
According to the charging document against Flynn, he “willfully and knowingly” lied to FBI agents during a Jan. 24 interview in which he was asked about his conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn arrives for a plea hearing at U.S. District Court, where he is expected to plead guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, in Washington, December 1, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Prosecutors say that Flynn lied when he said that during a Dec. 29, 2016 conversation with Kislyak, he did not ask the Russian diplomat “to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day.”
The Obama administration had that day issued a new round of sanctions against Russia for hacking into Democrats’ emails during the presidential campaign.
Flynn also falsely claimed that he did not recall that Kislyak told him that Russia “had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request.”
Flynn also misrepresented a conversation he had with Kislyak on Dec. 22, 2016 about a vote on a United Nations Security Council resolution, Mueller charges. Flynn initially told FBI agents that he did not ask Kislyak to delay a vote on a resolution, and that Kislyak did not describe the Russian government’s response to the request.
The resolution in question sought to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Russian diplomats did attempt to delay a vote on the resolution but eventually supported it. The U.S. controversially abstained from the vote instead of siding against it.
The New York Times reported on Friday that Mueller’s team has emails showing that Flynn agreed to kill the vote on the UN resolution. According to The Times, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lobbied the Trump transition team for help quashing the vote.