Last Updated Dec 1, 2017 11:51 AM EST
President Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI.
Flynn made the guilty plea in federal court in Washington, D.C. on Friday, admitting to lying to the FBI as it investigated Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Flynn turned himself into the FBI early Friday morning, and was processed and charged. Flynn’s misleading of the FBI took place while Donald Trump was president-elect.
A document filed with the court by the special counsel says that Flynn “did willfully and knowingly make materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statements and representations” to the FBI regarding his interaction with then-Russian Envoy Sergey Kislyak. In early December, after the election, he and the president’s son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner met with Kislyak at Trump Tower. On Dec. 29, Flynn called Kislyak five times, and the two spoke about sanctions against Russia that had just been imposed by President Obama over Russia’s meddling in the U.S. 2016 elections.
“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,” Flynn said in a statement. “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 int he best interests of my family and our country. I accept full responsibility for my actions.”
Ty Cobb, White House counsel, distanced the White House from Flynn in a statement.
“Today, Michael Flynn, a former national security advisor at the White House for 25 days during the Trump administration, and a former Obama administration official, entered a guilty plea to a single count of making a false statement to the FBI,” Cobb said in a statement. “The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year. 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.”
That Flynn was only presented with one charge raises questions. Flynn’s legal team recently stopped cooperating with the White House. CBS News’ Paula Reid points out that there were at least three charges Flynn could have faced, the most serious of which was a Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) violation — a failure to register as a foreign agent to disclose work for a foreign government. While he was a top adviser for the Trump campaign, Flynn had a $600,000 lobbying contract with a Dutch company owned by a Turkish businessman, work that he acknowledged could help the Turkish government. He made this FARA disclosure in March, months after he’d been pushed out of the White House.
© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.