The “very senior” member of President Donald Trump‘s transition team who directed former national security adviser Michael Flynn to reach out to Russia in an attempt to delay or defeat a U.N. resolution on Israeli settlements before Trump took office was Jared Kushner, sources with knowledge of the investigation confirmed to ABC News.
Court documents filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller today cite the “very senior” transition official but do not identify him.
Flynn has promised “full cooperation” in the special counsel’s Russia investigation and is willing to testify that Donald Trump directed him to contact the Russians, initially as a way to work together to fight ISIS in Syria, according to a confidant.
Bloomberg first reported that Kushner was the “very senior” member of the transition team detailed in the documents released Friday after Flynn pleaded guilty to misleading FBI investigators probing Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, including about his contact with Russia.
An additional “senior official” cited in the documents is K.T. McFarland, the former deputy national security adviser, sources told ABC News.
The court documents additionally detail the directions given to Flynn by a Trump transition official about how to interact with Russia regarding sanctions levied against the country by the Obama administration for Russian meddling in the election.
In the statement of the offense, accepted by Flynn Thursday and released by the special counsel’s office Friday, Flynn is described as having “called a senior official of the Presidential Transition Team who was with other senior members of the Presidential Transition Team at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, to discuss what, if anything, to communicate to the Russian Ambassador about the U.S. Sanctions” on Dec. 29, 2016.
That day, the Obama administration announced it was expelling 35 diplomats and placing sanctions on five Russian entities in retaliation for election meddling.
Flynn initially denied that he spoke about sanctions with Sergey Kislyak, a Russian senior diplomat. That denial that was repeated by Vice President Mike Pence in January, but he later changed his story. Flynn resigned in February.
The document notes that Flynn and the official went on to converse about “the potential impact of those sanctions on the incoming administration’s foreign policy goals” and that Flynn then called Kislyak, and “requested that Russia not escalate the situation.” He then relayed the details of their discussion back to the transition official.
In an interview with FBI officials on Jan. 24, just four days after Trump’s inauguration, Flynn told FBI agents that he did not ask Kislyak to “refrain from escalating the situation” in response to the sanctions, according to the court documents.
In a second instance described in the statement of offense, on Dec. 22, Flynn was directed by a “very senior” member of the transition team to “contact officials from foreign governments, including Russia, to learn where each government stood on the [Israeli settlement] resolution and to influence those governments to delay the vote or defeat the resolution.”
That day, he called the Russian ambassador and requested that Russia “vote against or delay the resolution,” the documents say.
In the Jan. 24 interview, he denied requesting countries take a particular action on the resolution and said that Russia’s ambassador did not describe the country’s position on the resolution.
In Flynn’s plea agreement, he accepts the charge which carries with it a maximum prison sentence of five years and fine of $250,000, among other stipulations. He further agrees to “cooperate fully, truthfully, completely, and forthrightly” with the special counsel’s office and other law enforcement agencies and is required to turn over any evidence of crimes about which he has awareness.
Included in the section on cooperation, Flynn further agrees to testify before grand juries, trials and proceedings at which his testimony is “deemed relevant.”
The additional criminal information document details the charge brought against Flynn for “willfully and knowingly mak[ing] materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and representations in a matter within the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the Government of the United States.”
In a statement, Flynn said: “It has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of “treason” and other outrageous acts. Such false accusations are contrary to everything I have ever done and stood for,” the statement, dated today said.
“But I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong, and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right. 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. I accept full responsibility for my actions.”
ALTERNATIVE MEDIA SOURCE http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-01/kushner-said-have-ordered-flynn-contact-russia
Kushner Is “Senior Official” Who Ordered Flynn To Contact Russia
When commenting on the Flynn plea deal with Mueller, we said that while hardly evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia, especially since all events took place after the election, the real question is who was the “senior member of the transition team” that instructed Flynn to call Russia. Now, according to Bloomberg’s Eli Lake we may have the answer: none other than Jared Kushner, who as Lake says, “could be one of the next dominoes to fall.”
According to the Bloomberg report, “one of Flynn’s lies to the FBI was when he said that he never asked Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak, to delay the vote for the U.N. Security Council resolution. The indictment released today from the office of special prosecutor Robert Mueller describes this lie: “On or about December 22, 2016, Flynn did not ask the Russian Ambassador to delay the vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution.” At the time, the U.N. Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements was a big deal. Even though the Obama administration had less than a month left in office, the president instructed his ambassador to the United Nations to abstain from a resolution, breaking a precedent that went back to 1980 when it came to one-sided anti-Israel resolutions at the U.N.
This was the context of Kushner’s instruction to Flynn last December. One transition official at the time said Kushner called Flynn to tell him he needed to get every foreign minister or ambassador from a country on the U.N. Security Council to delay or vote against the resolution. Much of this appeared to be coordinated also with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose envoys shared their own intelligence about the Obama administration’s lobbying efforts to get member stats to support the resolution with the Trump transition team.
As Lake correctly notes, “for now it’s unclear what to make of all of this” especially since th most important part of a case is missing: motive.
We also know from Flynn’s “statement of the offense” that he lied to FBI agents as the bureau was investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and any links between Russia and the Trump campaign in this period. Nonetheless, nothing in the Flynn plea sheds any light on whether the Trump campaign actually colluded with Russia to influence the election.
Here there are two possibilities: one bad for Trump, and one innocuous. As ABC News reported on Friday, Flynn is prepared to tell Mueller’s team that Trump had instructed him to make contact with Russia during the campaign itself.
“If those contacts involved the emails the U.S. intelligence community charges Russia stole from leading Democrats, then Mueller will have uncovered evidence of actual collusion between the president and a foreign adversary during the election. Impeachment could then be in the cards.”
That’s the bad case. But, Lake concedes, it’s also possible that the Justice Department became interested in Flynn’s initial conversation with Kislyak on other, less explosive grounds.
One leading theory pushed Friday by Democrats involves a violation of a 1799 statute known as the Logan Act. A relic of the John Adams administration, this discredited law makes it illegal for a private U.S. citizen to undermine the foreign policy of a sitting president in contact with a foreign power. No American has ever been successfully prosecuted under that law.
This path is likely a dead end: some conservatives urged the George W. Bush administration to prosecute former House speaker Nancy Pelosi under the Logan Act in 2007 when she visited the Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad, when the White House was trying to isolate him. Nothing ever came of that.
Still, a Logan Act investigation would explain the bureau’s interest in Flynn’s conversations about the U.N. Security Council resolution on Israel. This is what Senator Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on Friday: “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. That’s a stunning revelation and could be a violation of the Logan Act, which forbids unauthorized U.S. citizens from negotiating with a foreign power.”
If that is the extent of Mueller’s charges, it’s nothing and Trump walks away scott free. As Lake notes, “if that’s all there is, then the whispers of collusion will look foolish. Nonetheless, it may be enough to take out not only Flynn, but also the man who married the president’s daughter.”
Of course, if Kushner is the last casualty of all this, it is likely safe to say that not many tears will be shed.
JARED ‘is the mystery official who ordered Flynn to contact the Russians’: Trump adviser puts president’s son-in-law in Mueller’s crosshairs and promises to testify against MORE family members after admitting lying to the FBI
- Mike Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, become Robert Mueller’s star witness and promised to tell all in a day of drama
- Mueller’s office had charged him with making ‘false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements’ – an offense which carries a maximum sentence of five years
- Criminal information says he made false statements to the FBI just four days after Trump took office
- He lied about what he had said to then Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, the information from the special counsel says
- Disgraced three-star general’s first bombshell is to say a senior Trump transition official ordered him to contact the Russians
- A federal statement of offense identifies a ‘very senior’ transition official who directed Flynn to try to derail a UN resolution
- NBC News and CNN both reported that the official was Jared Kushner – putting the president’s son-in-law in Mueller’s crosshairs
- Kushner was seen leaving his home on Friday amid speculation that he is in the ‘departure lounge’ from the Trump White House
- Flynn flipped amid mounting financial and emotional pressure, sources said, and made statement admitting doing wrong and speaking of his faith
Former White House National Security Advisor K.T. Mcfarland, who currently works as the U.S. ambassador to Singapore, has also been accused of speaking to Flynn on December 29 about Russian sanctions in a meeting at Mar-A-Lago.
Their names emerged on Friday as former National Security Advisor Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts with Russia and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors delving deeper into the actions of Trump’s inner circle before he took office in January.
A federal statement of offense against Flynn states that a ‘very senior’ member of the Trump transition team ‘directed’ Flynn to reach out to foreign leaders about a UN resolution – ‘including Russia’ – to find out where the leaders stood.
The information laid out by prosecutors against Flynn outline a series of conversations undertaken by Flynn to influence a UN security resolution about Israel during the final days of the Obama administration.
Now that Kushner has been identified as that ‘very senior’ member, the focus of the investigation moves even closer to Trump.
The 1799 Logan Act, which is rarely invoked in prosecutions, makes it a federal crime to negotiate with foreign governments who have a dispute with the U.S.. Flynn’s contacts with Russia took place while the prior administration was already in place – and Trump and his team did not yet have formal governing power.
In addition, Kushner was still a private citizen at the time and real estate developer who quickly became a close confidante and advisor to his father-in-law’s presidential campaign.
Scroll down for video
Former White House National Security Advisor K.T. Mcfarland (right) has also been accused of speaking to Flynn (left) on December 29 about Russian sanctions in a meeting at Mar-A-Lago
Outside of any testimony Flynn may be able to provide, Kushner has other potential exposure – having failed to disclose numerous foreign contacts including with Russians on his SF-86 form, which was required to gain his security clearance.
Flynn has promised to testify ‘against Trump, against members of his family, and others in the White House.’
The former trusted aide said he will provide ‘full cooperation’ to Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his Russia probe after his stunning guilty plea in federal court Friday morning.
‘My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the special counsel’s office reflect a decision I made in the best interest of my family and of our country. I accept full responsibility for my actions,’ Flynn said in a statement.
Judge Rudolph Contreras accepted Flynn’s guilty plea and the maximum sentence is five years in prison.
Contreras said: ‘There will be no trial and there will be probably no appeal.’
Back with his family: Mike Flynn and his wife headed to the Alexandria, Virginia, home of their son Mike Flynn Jr after he pleaded guilty
What did his son get? Mike Flynn’s pleas combined with his son’s role in the Trump campaign will raise questions over whether he used the plea deal to save Mike Flynn Jr – who tweeted Pizzagate conspiracy theories – from being charged
Family in his sights: Robert Mueller now has a star witness who will testify against members of Trump’s family and the president himself
Flynn reportedly caved in to plead guilty in the least 24 hours after mounting emotional and financial pressure. He also wanted to do the ‘right thing for his country.’
He said in a statement: ‘After over thirty-three years of military service to our country including five years in combat away from my family and then my decision to continue to serve the United States, it has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of treason and other outrageous acts.’
I LET DOWN MY COUNTRY BUT I’M NOTA TRAITOR: FLYNN’S EXTRAORDINARY STATEMENT…
After over thirty-three years of military service to our country including five years in combat away from my family and then my decision to continue to serve the United States, it has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of treason and other outrageous acts.
Such false accusations are contrary to everything I’ve ever done and stood for.
But I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong.
Through my faith in God I am working to set things right.
My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the special counsel’s office reflect a decision I made in the best interest of my family and of our country. I accept full responsibility for my actions.’
‘Such false accusations are contrary to everything I’ve ever done and stood for,’ Flynn added.
‘But I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong. Through my faith in God I am working to set things right.
‘My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the special counsel’s office reflect a decision I made in the best interest of my family and of our country. I accept full responsibility for my actions,’ he continued.
When he left court with his wife, they rushed to the Alexandria, Virginia home of his son Mike Flynn Jr and spent time with his grandson, Travis.
His son – who had been a focus of FBI interest previously for his links to Russia – tweeted a statement of thanks.
Flynn’s plea shook political Washington, even as it sent Wall Street into a tailspin.
The Dow Jones industrial average briefly dropped 350 points, although it closed down only 41 points on the day.
The White House had planned a ‘pool spray’ of the president’s meeting with Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj of Libya, but abruptly cancelled an event with cameras and reporters Friday morning.
…HE’S AN OBAMA OFFICIAL WHO LIED TO TRUMP TOO: HOW PRESIDENT’S LAWYER TY COBB HIT BACK
Today, Michael Flynn, a former National Security Advisor at the White House for 25 days during the Trump Administration, and a former Obama administration official, entered a guilty plea to a single count of making a false statement to the FBI.
The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year.
Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn.
White House lawyer Ty Cobb issued a blistering statement about Flynn who previously worked as a defense intelligence official that was first fired by President Obama only to be hired by Trump months later.
‘Today, Michael Flynn, a former National Security Advisor at the White House for 25 days during the Trump Administration, and a former Obama administration official, entered a guilty plea to a single count of making a false statement to the FBI,’ said Cobb.
‘The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year. Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn.,’ the president’s lawyer said.
‘The conclusion of this phase of the Special Counsel’s work demonstrates again that the Special Counsel is moving with all deliberate speed and clears the way for a prompt and reasonable conclusion.’
Mueller’s team has been investigating Russian interference in the U.S. elections, as well as possible obstruction of justice and other issues.
According to a statement of the offense released by Mueller’s office, Flynn lied just days before Trump took office as president about his contacts with Russia’s then ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.
Flynn stated that on December 29 he ‘did not ask the Government of Russia’s Ambassador to the United States (‘Russian Ambassador’) to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day,’ according to the feds.
That relates to the sanctions President Obama slapped on Russia shortly before leaving office for election interference.
But on December 29, Flynn called a member of Trump’s presidential transition team, who was with other senior transition team members at Mar-a-Lago.
Flynn and the officials discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia, as well as ‘the potential impact of those sanctions on the incoming administration’s foreign policy goals’ and that members of the transition ‘did not want Russia to escalate the situation.’
Immediately after the call, according to the statement of offense, Flynn called Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak and requested that Russia ‘not escalate the situation.’
On December 30, just days later, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a statement stating Russia would not take retaliatory action – the preference Flynn heard about from Mar-a-Lago.
Flynn also stated that he ‘did not recall the Russian Ambassador subsequently telling him that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request.’
Received the lies: Sergey Kislyak was Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. when Flynn spoke to him before Trump’s inauguration. Four days later Flynn lied to the FBI about what he said to the Putin diplomat.
Flynn also stated that in an additional instance, on December 22, 2016, he ‘did not ask the Russian Ambassador to delay the vote on or defeat a pending United National Security Council resolution; and that the Russian Ambassador subsequently never described to Flynn Russia’s response to his request.’
The Security Council resolution condemned Israel for new settlement activity. In a rare diplomatic break from a key ally, the Obama administration abstained from the resolution.
Trump’s transition team vigorously tried to lobby against the resolution, breaking with tradition that the U.S. government speak with one diplomatic voice.
Flynn himself called foreign ambassadors of security council members, including Uruguay and Malaysia.
According to the information, Flynn made his false statements to the FBI on January 24, 2017 – just four days after Trump took office.
Flynn was ‘directed’ by a ‘very senior’ member of the transition team to reach out to foreign leaders about the UN resolution – ‘including Russia’ – to find out where the leaders stood.
Mueller alleges that Flynn willfully made ‘false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements in a matter within the jurisdiction’ of the U.S. government, including the FBI.
Lying to the FBI is a felony charge which carries a fine and up to five years in prison.
Back in March, Flynn’s attorney, Robert Kellner, stated with respect to congressional investigators probing Russia that ‘General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit,’ implying a willingness to cooperate.
In a tweet and Instagram post, he shared the Biblical verse of Amos 5:24: ‘But justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream’
The stunning developments on Friday brought to fruition something the president sought to avoid.
Fired FBI Director James Comey testified that in regards to Flynn, Trump told him on February 14: ‘I hope you can let this go.’
TEAM TRUMP FOR PRISON 2018: THE AIDES FACING JAIL ALREADY – SO WHO WILL MUELLER TARGET NEXT?
Trump campaign manager March – August 2016
Manafort, 68, was charged with conspiracy against the US, conspiracy to launder, and other charges, after US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia undertook a campaign of hacking and misinformation to tilt the election in Trump’s favor. He pleaded not guilty in October to a 12-count indictment by a federal grand jury.
Business associate and deputy to Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort
Gates, 45, was indicted along with his business associate, Paul Manafort after the first charges from the probe of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election were unsealed. He pleaded not guilty to a 12-count indictment
Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, March 2016 – January 2017
Papadopoulos, 30, pleaded guilty on October 5 to making false statements to investigators about his conversations with overseas sources about potential Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Investigators early on focused not only on Flynn, but also on his son.
The information released by the FBI does not mention other areas reportedly under investigation – including potential violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Flynn filed amended reports after disclosures of work he had done on behalf of the government of Turkey.
As a critical person in Trump’s campaign and national security team, Flynn was present for consequential decisions during the formative days of the administration and functioned as a main conduit for contacts with Russian officials.
He could be an essential witness for Mueller as he investigates potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.
In recent days White House lawyers have downplayed the significance of Flynn’s legal troubles for the president, drawing a clear line between Flynn’s personal baggage and his work on the Trump campaign and the administration.
Kushner and Flynn were both prominent figures in the Trump campaign, the presidential transition and the early days of the Trump administration.
The two also took part in discussions during the presidential transition with Kislyak about establishing a back-channel between the two countries.
That was a possible indication of prosecutors’ interest given Mueller’s mandate to probe contacts between Trump associates and the Kremlin.
Flynn was forced to resign from the White House in February after officials concluded that he had misled them about his contacts with Kislyak during the transition period.
Weeks before he was fired, he was interviewed by the FBI about that communication, and former FBI Director James Comey has said Flynn was under investigation for potentially lying to federal agents about the nature of their conversation.
Mueller’s grand jury had planned in coming days to hear testimony from an employee of a public relations company that worked with Flynn’s firm on $530,000 worth of lobbying and investigative research for a Turkish businessman.
The testimony was slated to focus on Flynn’s firm’s interactions with congressional staff. But it was abruptly postponed by prosecutors.
The details of Kushner’s questioning and the postponement of the grand jury testimony were confirmed by people familiar with Mueller’s investigation.
They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly discuss the ongoing investigation.
Asked about the meeting with Mueller, Kushner’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, did not elaborate on the nature of the question, saying only in a statement his client ‘has voluntarily cooperated with all relevant inquiries and will continue to do so.’
Mueller’s spokesman, Peter Carr, has yet to comment on the special counsel’s ongoing investigation that has now stretched into its seventh month.
Instead, the special counsel has decided to speak in indictments and plea agreements. In the meantime, Washington – and the country – wait for the next one.
A US official said that Flynn was in frequent contact with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on the day the Obama administration imposed sanctions on Russia after US intelligence reported that Russia had interfered with the US elections
The fallen military hero who could bring down a president: How Mike Flynn marched into Trump’s inner circle – and now his lies and links to Russia threaten the presidency itself
BY ALANA GOODMAN FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
Mike Flynn was a three-star decorated Army general and the guardian of America’s top military secrets – and now he is poised to end his career with a sentence in federal prison after pleading guilty to lying to federal investigators.
The 58-year-old Army veteran worked his way up the military ranks for over three decades, from second lieutenant in military intelligence in 1981 until he retired as a three-star lieutenant general in 2014.
He has served in both Democratic and Republican administrations. He was appointed by President Obama as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014, the agency that oversees U.S. military intelligence operations.
But that tenure ended in a bitter firing amid claims that he veered into conspiracy theories. Others laughed about ‘Flynn facts’, the fake claims he had fallen for despite being at the pinnacle of military intelligence.
Flynn’s tenure in the Trump administration was considerably shorter – and even more disastrous for all concerned.
Mike Flynn and his wife Lori arrived in court in Washington D.C. on Friday to plead guilty to a federal judge of lying to the FBI. He faces five years – but is almost certain to have made a deal with Robert Mueller which could implicate others
According to the information, which includes just a single count, Flynn lied just days before President Trump took office about his contacts with Russia’s then ambassador to the U.S.
In this image made from a video taken on December 10, 2015 and made available on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, Michael Flynn, left, sits next to Russian President Vladimir Putin, in Moscow.
He lasted just 24 days as President Trump’s National Security Advisor before he was fired amid allegations that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russian officials during the presidential transition.
The conservative movement’s embrace of Flynn – an Obama-era official and lifelong Democrat until he led the ‘lock her up’ chants at the Republican convention in 2016 – was just one of the unexpected spectacles of the last election cycle.
Flynn’s tough-talking approach to national security and his vocal denunciations of political Islam and his public clashes with the Obama administration endeared him to many on the political right.
But Flynn’s time as a conservative icon was short-lived. He was ousted as Trump’s National Security Advisor in February, and has been under investigation by federal law enforcement and congress over the past year.
Now Flynn faces up to five years in prison after pleading guilty to lying to federal investigators about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.
Flynn was born in December 1958. His parents, who he once described as strong Democrats, traveled the world for his World War II veteran father’s military career before settling down in Middletown, Rhode Island.
Growing up, Flynn shared bunk beds and a small bedroom with his brother Chris – he is one of nine children, who remain close – before he left home to attend college at the University of Rhode Island.
Flynn was known among friends and family members as the more outgoing brother, according to a 2011 profile of the former general in the Newport Daily News. He also loved ‘cheap cars’ and ‘pizza’ and rock music – especially the songs of Lou Reed.
In this undated photo provided by Joe Flynn, Michael Flynn, left, stands with his mother Helen Flynn, right, near a football field, in Middletown, Rhode Island
Packed in: The Flynns were brought up in this 1,200 square ft beach house, which his mother Helen ran as a ‘bunkhouse’, his brother Jack said
One family member told the paper that Flynn’s outlook was largely shaped by the ‘scrappy, no BS Irish-Catholic humble start [he] had in Newport.’ Flynn went on to attend the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, and was commissioned into the Army as an intelligence officer in 1981.
Growing up so close to the ocean in Rhode Island, Flynn, along with his siblings, became strong swimmers and surfers. And the retired military man became known for his skateboarding style and boldness in the water.
And while he was at the center of the Mueller probe in July, months before he was charged, Flynn was spotted surfing with his sister.
His military career eventually took him to Washington, where he served as the president’s intelligence advisor for the Joint Staff from 2007 to 2008, and later as an intelligence advisor on Afghanistan.
Flynn became a three-star general – one of 230 active Army generals at the time – and was appointed to lead the Defense Intelligence Agency by President Obama in 2012.
Flynn lasted just two years at the agency before his military career ended when Obama dismissed him as defense intelligence chief in 2014.
Flynn claimed he was pushed out for holding tougher views than the Obama administration about Islamic extremism, others claim it was due to his clashes with others in the administration and ‘turbulence’ at the agency – including the damaging intelligence leaks from Edward Snowden in 2013.
Writing an op-ed for the New York Post in July 2016, Flynn said: ‘The military fired me for calling our enemies radical jihadis. I knew then it had more to do with the stand I took on radical Islamism and the expansion of al Qaeda and its associated movements.
He blamed his dismissal on ‘the bureaucracy’ and said that things had gotten ‘too politicized.’
After leaving the Obama administration, Flynn went into private sector and founded a lobbying and consulting firm called Flynn Intel Group. That decision now seems to have set in motion his doom.
His clients have included foreign businesses, including a Dutch firm with ties to the Turkish government.
The company, Inovo, owned by Turkish-American businessman Ekim Alpetkin, paid Flynn over $500,000 last fall to lobby on its behalf.
Flynn, who was also advising the Trump campaign at the time, was asked by the company to conduct research into Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, an adversary of Turkish President Recep Erdogan.
Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania, has been accused of engineering an unsuccessful coup against Erdogan. Flynn was reportedly hired to investigate Gulen and put together a film about the case.
Although Flynn registered as a lobbyist, he did not register as a foreign agent at the time.
He retroactively filed foreign agent registration papers this year, after his attorney’s acknowledged the project’s potential benefit to the Turkish government and Alpetkin’s links to Turkish officials.
Investigators early on focused not only on Flynn, but on his son, Michael Flynn Jr (pictured with Flynn), making the military man concerned about legal exposure born by his son
Flynn Jr has propagated the view that Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, according to CNN
He has also speculated that Sen. Marco Rubio, who lost to Trump in the Republican primary campaign, was secretly gay and indulged in cocaine
Flynn has also come under fire for accepting $35,000 from the Russian state-sponsored news channel RT to speak at its 10th anniversary gala in Moscow in 2015. Damningly, he sat beside Putin.
Over the past few years, Flynn had grown increasingly vocal in his criticism of political Islam and its connection to terrorism.
In 2016, Flynn called Islamism a ‘vicious cancer inside the body of 1.7 billion people’ that ‘has to be excised.’
Flynn became a prominent surrogate for Donald Trump during the 2016 election, at one point drawing speculation that he might be chosen as a vice presidential candidate.
He admitted he submitted his name for consideration, despite being registered as a Democrat.
He ultimately joined the Trump campaign as an advisor and gave a speech supporting the candidate at the 2016 Republican National Convention.
During the campaign, Flynn often denounced Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server to send classified information while serving as secretary of state. At one rally, he encouraged the audience’s chants of ‘lock her up!’ and declared, ‘If I did a tenth of what she did, I’d be in jail today.’
Flynn’s son, Mike Flynn Jr., went further with his criticism of Clinton, and his comments became a magnet for controversy during the campaign and the presidential transition.
The younger Flynn, who worked alongside his father on the presidential transition and the Trump campaign, appeared to endorse the ‘Pizzagate’ internet theory promoted by critics of Clinton last December.
The theory alleged that Hillary Clinton aide John Podesta was involved in a child sex trafficking ring supposedly run out of the Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C.
Although the theory was never substantiated, one man was arrested last winter for carrying a gun to the restaurant and firing several shots after reading about the ‘Pizzagate’ allegations online. Nobody was injured and the man was arrested and taken into custody on the spot.
‘Until #Pizzagate proven to be false, it’ll remain a story. The left seems to forget #PodestaEmails and the many “coincidences” tied to it,’ wrote Flynn Jr. on Twitter.
Flynn Jr. also previously claimed on Twitter that minorities only voted for Obama because of his skin color, and promoted theories that Marco Rubio used cocaine and participated in ‘gayish’ dance parties.
Flynn Jr. was let go by the Trump transition team last December, shortly before his father was tapped as Trump’s National Security Advisor in January.
The elder Flynn lasted less than a month in the job before he was fired for allegedly misleading Vice President Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.
But those days when he did serve saw him at the heart of the administration. ‘He was always in the room, and on every call,’ one official told The New Yorker.
That may be what will make Trump and those around him sweat most.
Mike Flynn’s son Mike Jr posted this picture in June of the disgraced national security adviser and his sister Barbara Redgate surfing in June
Federal officials say Flynn had multiple contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak after the election and during Trump’s presidential transition. The calls between Flynn and Kislyak were allegedly intercepted through intelligence gathering by the Obama administration.
Flynn’s name was later released to the Washington Post – which reported that Flynn and the Russian ambassador discussed the possibility of the Trump administration repealing Russian sanctions.
According to federal investigators, Flynn asked Russian Ambassador Kislyak to hold off on any political retaliation last December in response to the Obama administration’s decision to increase sanctions on Russia in the wake of the presidential election.
The Obama administration had placed the sanctions on Russia last year, after multiple U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government was involved in hacking the Democratic National Committee.
Intelligence officials claimed Russia released thousands of embarrassing emails to Wikileaks related to the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton, in an attempt to tip the presidential election in favour of Trump.
Prosecutors said Flynn also asked the Russian ambassador to delay voting on a UN resolution that was critical of Israel during a conversation last Dec. 22, but told investigators that he did not recall discussing this.
These revelations came shortly after Vice President Mike Pence publicly defended Flynn and said the National Security Advisor did not discuss sanctions with Russian officials.
After the Washington Post report, Flynn was fired and administration officials said he had lied to the vice president.
At the time, Flynn’s lawyers dismissed the allegations as ‘unfounded allegations, outrageous claims of treason, and vicious innuendo.’ Flynn has not publicly commented on the matter since February.
But he was clearly deeply in trouble, and financially close to ruin. He and his family launched an appeal for cash for his defense fund, and while his son told how his father was surfing regularly, in reality he was sweating over his own and his family’s future.
Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about the conversations on Friday.
Flynn is the second subject to plead guilty in connection to the Mueller probe. Former Trump national security advisor George Papadopoulos also pleaded guilty in October for lying about his Russian contacts.
Former Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates pleaded not guilty to financial-related crimes in October.