(RNN) – Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents while serving in the White House.
An indictment against Flynn was announced Friday morning. He entered the plea in Washington, DC, federal court after his mugshot and fingerprints were taken at an FBI field office in Washington.
As part of a plea deal, Flynn has admitted a senior member of the Trump transition team directed him to make contact with Russian officials in December 2016.
Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to making false statements to the FBI, becoming the first official who worked in the Trump White House to make a guilty plea so far in a wide-ranging investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.
The government did not reveal the identity of the senior transition official.
White House special counsel Ty Cobb said, “Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn.”
In a statement, Flynn said he had agreed to cooperate with the investigation by Mueller.
“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,” the statement said.
Flynn said accusations against him are false, but he felt cooperating was in the best interest of his family.
“After over 33 years of military service to our country, including nearly five years in combat away from my family, and then my decision to continue to serve the United States, it has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of “treason” and other outrageous acts. Such false accusations are contrary to everything I have ever done and stood for. But I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong, and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right. 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. I accept full responsibility for my actions.”
Following news of Flynn’s guilty plea, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped sharply. It had closed above 24,000 for the first time Thursday.
Former FBI Director James Comey, whose firing led to the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel, responded to the Flynn news Friday with a Bible verse: “But justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” Amos 5:24.
In response to the Flynn guilty plea, Sen. Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in part the special counsel “has found illegal behavior stretching into the senior most levels of the White House.” He also pointed out what he called an “alarming pattern in which the President has already fired the FBI Director; pressured the Attorney General and top U.S. intelligence officials to interfere with an ongoing investigation; and contemplated issuing pardons for his associates or firing the special counsel, according to numerous press reports.”
Flynn resigned as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser in February after serving for less than a month.
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