Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser to President Donald Trump, said Friday that a senior official on the Trump transition team directed him to make contact with Russians in December 2016, according to federal prosecutors. He did not name the person.
ABC News reported that Flynn “is prepared to testify that Donald Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians, initially as a way to work together to fight ISIS in Syria.”
Flynn pleaded guilty to charges of lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. During his hearing on Friday, he said that Trump’s campaign asked him to make contact with Russian officials during the campaign, and that incoming administration officials knew about it. Flynn is reportedly facing a five year prison sentence and a maximum fine of $250,000.
Following the hearing, Flynn issued a statement, denying accusations of “treason.” 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.”
White House lawyer Ty Cobb also issued a statement Friday shortly after the hearing, saying that the charges against Flynn implicate Flynn and Flynn alone.
“The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February this year,” the statement reads.
Democrats are starting to react.
“This shows a Trump associate negotiating with the Russians against U.S. policy and interests before Donald Trump took office and after it was announced that Russia had interfered in our election,” Senator Diane Feinstein, the Democrat from California, said in a statement. “It’s critical that we determine whether Flynn spoke with the Russians on his own initiative and who knew and approved of his actions.”