Lying to the FBI: Michael Flynn pleads guilty


Dahlia Cruz, Staff Writer

On the first day of December, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI.

According to federal sentencing guidelines, Flynn could face a maximum of five years imprisonment.

In a statement released, Flynn addresses his plea and his agreement to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian attempts to influence American politics.

Flynn said his plea “reflects a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country. I accept full responsibility of my actions.”

Flynn served on President-elect Trump’s transition team and then briefly as national security adviser under President Trump until it was discovered that Flynn had lied to Vice President Pence regarding discussions he had with the Russian ambassador.

The communications with Russian officials that Flynn lied to the FBI about took place during the transition period while Flynn was on Trump’s transition team.

The content of the conversations involved two subjects – sanctions imposed by the Obama administration against Russia for its interference in the presidential elections and an upcoming vote United Nations resolution regarding Israeli settlements.

Details of Flynn’s plea agreement indicate that Trump’s senior aides were not only aware that Flynn was talking to Russian contacts but that they directed him to engage in the discussions. These details contradict earlier claims by Trump and his aides that they did not know about Flynn’s Russian involvement.

Private citizens are prohibited from influencing foreign governments with regard to controversial matters involving the United States under the Logan Act of 1799.

Found on the Legal Information Institute’s website, it states:

“Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of theUnited States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

However, some legal analysts, such as Gregg Jarrett of Fox News, assert that the Logan Act is unconstitutional on the grounds that it violates free speech rights and is “vague, overly broad and ambiguous.”

Furthermore, the time period between the election results and the change in administration is referred to as the “transition”, during which a newly elected president and his staff must familiarize themselves with foreign policy and foreign governments. This includes direct communication with foreign governments.

According to Alex Pappas of Fox News, “Flynn was doing his job. He did it in the same manner that other transition officials have in previous administrations.”

However, what is of interest is not only why he felt he needed to lie, but that Flynn has a list of charges that could possibly be dismissed contingent upon his full cooperation.

What does Mueller believe Flynn knows that is so valuable?