This is the biggest development in the Trump-Russia story yet.
Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is expected to agree to a plea deal with prosecutors in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. It’s the biggest development yet in the investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia — and the legal move that poses the most direct threat to the Trump presidency itself.
Flynn will plead guilty to a single count of lying to the FBI on or around January 24 about conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December 2016, the Office of the Special Counsel announced Friday. It’s important to note that he did not admit to colluding with Russia during the 2016 presidential election. He’s expected to enter a plea at 10:30 am EST.
The plea deal will strengthen Mueller’s sprawling probe into Trumpworld’s possible criminal acts and ties with Russia. In October, Mueller charged Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates with money laundering and failing to properly disclose their lobbying work on behalf of foreign clients. Mueller also unsealed a guilty plea in October from former Trump foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos, who admitted to lying to federal investigators about meetings in which he discussed potentially colluding with Russian agents to acquire Hillary Clinton’s private emails.
But the Flynn plea deal is the most significant moment in Mueller’s probe to date. Flynn is the first person who had actually served in the Trump White House to admit he broke the law. And Flynn wasn’t just any old official: his role as national security adviser is one of the highest-level and most powerful posts in Washington, and the retired three-star general temporarily had enormous sway over Trump’s early policy and personnel choices.
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