Former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian government officials.
The United States District Court for the District of Columbia scheduled a plea hearing for Flynn at 10:30 a.m. ET. In the hearing, Flynn pleaded guilty to making “materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent” statements to FBI agents this past January.
Specifically, Flynn falsely told the FBI that he did not tell the Russian ambassador to the United States that the country should “refrain” from escalating tensions between the two countries in the wake of new sanctions leveled against it by the outgoing Obama administration.
The Russian government did not retaliate against the Obama administration’s new sanctions late last year, and President Trump himself praised this decision as “very smart” on Twitter.
Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!# p #5_11 # ad skipped = true #
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2016# p #6_11 # ad skipped = true #
The Trump tweet was subsequently promoted by the Russian embassy of the United States’ official Twitter account.
Speculation about Flynn cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe spiked in late October when the special counsel hit former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort with an indictment that included money laundering allegations.
Flynn resigned as national security adviser this past February, less than a month into Trump’s first term, when it was revealed that he had lied about conversations he’d had with Russian officials about potential sanctions relief.
(Note: This article has been updated.)