Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Washington DC
On Dec. 1, 2017, former national security adviser Michael Flynn was charged with making false statements to federal investigators about his December 2016 conversations in with Russia’s then-ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak.
At the plea hearing at the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., the retired United States Army Lieutenant General pleaded guilty to “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI regarding conversations with Russia’s ambassador.
He said his plea and the decision to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election was for “best interests of my family and of our country.”
Flynn said in a statement, “It has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of ‘treason’ and other outrageous acts.” He added, “I accept full responsibility for my actions.”
Flynn’s sentencing has been deferred several times most recently on December 18, 2018. The Mueller investigation stated that Flynn “deserves credit for accepting responsibility in a timely fashion and substantially assisting the government” and should receive little or no jail time.
On Dec. 29, 2016, President Barack Obama imposed retaliatory sanctions on Russia over its meddling in the US election. That same day Flynn had a conversation with Kislyak that was reportedly viewed by Obama advisors.
Eventually, an indictment was handed down by Mueller’s office that said during that alleged conversation Flynn falsely stated that he did not ask the then-ambassador “to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day,” and that Flynn couldn’t recall Kislyak “telling him that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request.”
The indictment also said that while speaking with Muller’s team, Flynn also stated that he did not ask Kislyak to “delay the vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution” and that Kislyak “subsequently never described to Flynn Russia’s response to his request.”
White House lawyer Ty Cobb, who had tried to downplay Flynn’s role in the administration, calling him a “former Obama administration official, “Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn. The conclusion of this phase of the special counsel’s work demonstrates again that the special counsel is moving with all deliberate speed and clears the way for a prompt and reasonable conclusion.”
Flynn’s brief time in the White House was fraught with controversy. When President Obama and President-Elect Trump met on Nov. 10, 2016 in the Oval Office, Obama warned Trump against hiring Flynn due to his “profound concerns” about hiring Flynn to a high-level national security post. Many media outlets had attacked Flynn’s close relations with Russia and his fake news theories during the 2016 election. However, Flynn accepted Trump’s offer for the position of National Security Advisor on Nov. 18, 2016.
On Jan. 22, 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported that Flynn was under investigation by U.S. counterintelligence agents for his communications with Russian officials. On Feb. 8, 2017, Flynn denied spoking to Kislyak in December 2016 about the Obama sanctions. But on Feb. 9, U.S. intelligence officials shared an account that indicated discussions did in fact happen. Following the information, Flynn’s spokesman released a statement that his client had “indicated that while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.”
On Feb. 13, 2017, Flynn resigned as National Security Advisor. Flynn’s 24-day stint as National Security Advisor was the shortest tenure in the office’s 63-year history.