Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI, becoming the first Trump White House official to face criminal charges and admit guilt so far in the wide-ranging election investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Michael Flynn, right, leaves federal court on Friday.
This is a developing story - check back for updates. "My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel's Office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country".
Flynn, responding to questions from the Washington Post, once again denies any discussions with Kislyak about sanctions. This follows the guilty plea of a Trump campaign aide; charges against a Trump campaign manager; and charges against a key aide to the Trump campaign and transition.
President Obama warns Trump during a meeting at the White House that Flynn is a problem. The prosecutors say that Flynn cleared his comments to Kislyak beforehand with an unnamed official who is described as "a senior official of the Presidential Transition Team" who was staying with Trump at Mar-a-Lago.
Flynn rejected claims that he had committed treason, but said he accepts "full responsibility for his actions." .
Those officials discussed the details of what Flynn was supposed to communicate to the Russians about U.S. sanctions imposed by the Obama administration.
A lawyer for Flynn informs Trump's lawyers that they can no longer share information with the White House.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) spoke to reporters this afternoon after the announcement that Gen. Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
President Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (l.) and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak at the White House in Washington. In the first statement Flynn made on December 29, 2016, Flynn denied making a request to a Russian ambassador to "refrain from escalating the situation" after the USA imposed sanctions on Russia and Flynn denied recalling that the Russian ambassador then stated they will "moderate" their response due the the request.
In a January 24 interview with investigators, Flynn denied having asked Kislyak to moderate Russia's response to new sanctions and the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, announced by Obama in retaliation for Moscow's interference in the 2016 election. But the most senior levels of the Trump transition team were aware, from the first, what really happened.
Flynn was forced to resign in February after intelligence leaks showed he had lied to Pence and other senior United States government officials about his conversations with Kislyak in late December, when Trump was still president-elect.
At the center of this story is a mystery that will propel the rest of the inquiry: What was Trump so anxious about that it made him deny contacts with Russian Federation and denounce attempts to investigate those contacts?
Donald Trump and Michael Flynn speak at a campaign rally in Colorado on October 18, 2016.
For Trump, the focus is on whether he has tried to stifle the investigation, including by firing FBI chief James Comey in May, which could draw charges of obstruction of justice, the same charges that forced president Richard Nixon from office in 1974.
Apparently, Mueller's team was seeking a deal of some kind to win Flynn's cooperation in that investigation.