Former US NSA pleads guilty to lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation

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He noted that it's a "bit curious" to see Flynn only plead guilty to one charge, since Trump's former national security adviser seemed to have "exposure" on more serious offenses. Flynn also denied receiving a response to the request. According to a court filing, Flynn said that a "very senior member" of the presidential transition team asked Flynn on December 22 to contact officials to help delay or defeat a United Nations Security Council vote condemning Israeli settlement policies.

Intelligence officials, looking for clues to why Putin decided not to retaliate against the imposed sanctions, discover Flynn's conversations with Kislyak, whose communications are routinely monitored by the U.S government.

Trump ignored reporters' shouted questions as he welcomed the Libyan prime minister to the White House, and aides canceled media access to a later meeting between the two. That's in part because Vice President Mike Pence is expected to pursue broadly similar policies as Trump in the event that he ever becomes president himself. His business dealings and foreign interactions have made him a central focus of Mueller's investigation.

He was forced to resign that post in February, just weeks after the president took office, due to public concerns over his contacts with Russian Federation.

In a statement, Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general said he accepted responsibility for his actions and added: "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".

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Three others have been charged in the Mueller probe.

The charges against Flynn relate to a series of discussions the general had last December, during the presidential transition, when he reportedly told Kislyak that Trump's White House might go easy on sanctions against Russian Federation that were imposed by President Obama and asked Kislyak to sabotage a United Nations resolution on Israel that Obama's White House supported. Flynn has confirmed that he is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his guilty plea for lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and prosecutors indicated Flynn has already testified that Trump transition officials directed his contacts with Russians. The White House has denied that assertion. ABC and other news outlets reported Friday that Flynn is prepared to testify against Trump personally. At a time when tensions were hightened between the USA and Russia, Flynn was asked about whether he discussed sanctions against the country with the ambassador before he took office. In charging Flynn, prosecutors made clear they believe that claim to be false.

Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee earlier this year that she had warned the White House about Flynn's conversations with Kislyak so that the Trump administration "could take action" amid concerns that Flynn was subject to blackmail by Russians.

Court documents say Flynn was instructed by "a senior official of the Presidential Transition Team" to discuss holding back on retaliation with Kislyak.

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