Mike Flynn took part in Trump-Putin call four days after lying to FBI about Russia talks
Trump speaks by phone with Putin in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Former national security adviser Mike Flynn will plead guilty Friday to a single count of lying to FBI agents -- and he could provide damaging information against a number of White House officials.


Flynn had reportedly reached a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller to cooperate in the investigation of Trump campaign ties to Russia, and his guilty plea suggests he gave up useful information against top officials with the campaign or within the White House.

The charging document shows Flynn lied to FBI agents Jan. 24 about two specific conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak a month before, which were recorded during routine monitoring of foreign agents and show the pair discussed U.S. sanctions.

Two days after Flynn lied to the FBI, acting attorney general Sally Yates warned White House counsel Don McGahn those false statements made the national security adviser vulnerable to blackmail by Russia.

The following day, Jan. 27, George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser to the campaign, also lied to the FBI about his own repeated contacts with Russian agents -- and he pleaded guilty to the same charge as Flynn in exchange for his cooperation with Mueller's probe.

President Donald Trump summoned then-FBI director James Comey to the White House later that evening for a private dinner, where the president asked for his loyalty.

The FBI director promised Trump his honesty, but the president pressed him to assure his “honest loyalty” — which Comey refused to grant.

On Jan. 28, one week and one day into the administration, Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, spoke by phone.

Flynn was present in the Oval Office during that call, and he and Trump were joined by Vice President Mike Pence, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Of that group, only Trump and Pence remain the White House.

The Kremlin produced a detailed, 10-paragraph readout of the call, but the White House released only a vague, one-paragraph summary that showed Trump received a “congratulatory call from Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

The White House routinely records such calls, but Ilan Berman, vice president of the conservative American Foreign Policy Council think tank, suggested no such recording existed of the Trump-Putin call.

The day after the Oval Office call to Putin, on Jan. 29, Trump signed an executive order elevating Bannon to the National Security Council and downgrading the roles of chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence -- a move that most observers considered baffling.

The White House fired Yates the next day, Jan. 30, and Flynn was eventually forced out Feb. 13 after the Washington Post reported Yates' warning to the White House counsel.

Later that week, Priebus pressed Comey and then-deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe about what the FBI had uncovered about the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, and Spicer personally connected CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) with reporters to discredit a report linking campaign officials to the Kremlin.

Flynn apologized for what he said were misleading statements to Pence -- who oversaw the presidential transition -- and Spicer about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.

But Pence was warned in November by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) about Flynn's paid work for Turkey during the campaign and his contacts with Russia, and the lawmaker suggested he should not be given access to classified information.

Trump fired Comey on May 8, after asking the FBI director to drop the investigation of Flynn's activities -- a move that prompted the Justice Department to appoint Mueller as special counsel.