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02 December 2017, 12:40 | Simon Arnold
Evan Vucci AP
"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".
Disgraced national security adviser Michael Flynn is prepared to testify that President Trump "directed him to make contact with the Russians" during last year's presidential campaign, according to reports.
"I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong", Flynn said in a statement.
Flynn rejected claims that he had committed treason, but said he accepts "full responsibility for his actions." .
The court filings from Flynn's plea hearing Friday say a "very senior member" of Trump's transition team asked Flynn to contact officials from UN Security Council countries, including Russian Federation, to learn where each country stood on the vote on a resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity.
The Justice Department appointed Mueller as special counsel in May after Trump abruptly fired then-FBI Director James Comey, who had been looking into the president and his potential connections with Russians.
Flynn, who was interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation just days after Trump's inauguration, was forced to resign in February after White House officials said he had misled them about whether he had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.
The government did not reveal the identity of the senior transition official.
After the December 29 announcement, the Obama administration was openly puzzled by Moscow's decision not to retaliate, and began investigating possible interference by Flynn and the Trump campaign. At a time when tensions were hightened between the U.S. and Russia, Flynn was asked about whether he discussed sanctions against the country with the ambassador before he took office.
"Separately, authorities say Flynn lied about asking the ambassador to delay a vote on United Nations Security Council resolutions".
The Obama administration, in a rare step that shocked its Middle East ally, planned to abstain on the motion rather than veto it as had been done in the past. Mike Flynn has pled guilty to criminal conduct, while he was serving as National Security Adviser to the President of the United States, involving his contact with Russian officials. He told a Trump transition official about that call.
"The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year", he continued.
The opposition Democratic Party was quick to slam Trump.
Mueller's team announced charges in October against three other Trump campaign officials, former chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates, and a former campaign foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos.
During the Republican National Convention in July 2016, when Trump was officially nominated as the GOP's candidate, Flynn led the entire convention in a repeated chant of "Lock her up!" He has been under investigation for a wide range of allegations, including lobbying work on behalf of Turkey, but the fact that he was charged only with a single count of false statements suggests he is cooperating with Mueller in exchange for leniency.
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