Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation

Gen. Michael Flynn, who briefly served as President Trump's national security advisor, pleaded guilty Friday to a single count of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about contacts with the Russian ambassador.

The retired Army lt. general whined about how "extraordinarily painful" special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign had been for him.

This is a developing story - check back for updates. My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel's office reflect a decision I made int he best interests of my family and our country.

Flynn's only comments were to answer yes and no to questions from the judge in the court.

Asked by Contreras how he would plead, Flynn said simply, "Guilty, your honor".

Flynn had told Pence and other White House officials that he had merely spoken to the then-Russian ambassador about their winter holidays when in reality the two men had discussed the Obama administration's sanctions against Moscow. "I accept full responsibility for my actions", he said.

President Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn released a statement following the news that he has been charged with making false statements to federal investigators about his conversations last December with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. at the time, Sergey Kislyak. Administration officials said Flynn had not discussed sanctions that had been imposed on Russian Federation in part over election meddling. They also extend to false statements that Flynn made in regard to his company, the Flynn Intel Group, in connection with his work as a lobbyist and consultant to the government of Turkey. In May, Trump fired Comey over "this Russian Federation thing with Trump and Russian Federation", as Trump described it. Comey's ouster was a stunning event, one that led directly to the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel for Russiagate.

Flynn is at the center of a broader investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into the Russian meddling in the 2016 US Presidential election campaign.

Flynn was forced to resign in February after intelligence leaks showed he had lied to Pence and other senior USA government officials about his conversations with Kislyak in late December, when Trump was still president-elect.

Mueller's investigators have interviewed members of Trump's family, his top advisors, business partners and lawyers over their actions.

Next, Flynn can tell Mueller what, if anything, he knows about the contacts between Russian Federation and a series of Trump officials in 2016, including meetings, emails, phone calls and trips involving Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Carter Page, Roger Stone and George Papadopoulos.

"Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn", he said.

For Trump, the focus is on whether he has tried to stifle the investigation, including by firing FBI chief James Comey in May, which could draw charges of obstruction of justice, the same charges that forced president Richard Nixon from office in 1974.

Flynn's pledge to cooperate with Mueller could lead to further charges, but an attorney for Trump, Ty Cobb, said no one else was affected by this latest development.