WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump’s former national security advisor has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn was a key policy advisor to Trump throughout his presidential campaign. He has expressed that he is fully cooperating with Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation surrounding possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Flynn says he is willing to testify that President Trump directed him to contact Russians, initially on a matter unrelated to the election.
Political science professor Eric Heberlig, at UNC-Charlotte, said this development may mean major consequences for key players in the White House.
“The way these processes typically work is, they start with people typically low on the totem pole and then get them to testify against people who are higher up,” Heberlig said. “So, what's different about Flynn is, we're already starting with a person who was pretty high up in the chain of command and has the ability to provide information both on people up the chain of command and lower (in the) chain of command.”
The probe, in reaching such high levels of government, is bringing back memories of Richard Nixon and Watergate in the 1970s. Charlotte attorney David Erdman was on the Senate’s Watergate Committee during the Nixon presidency.
“It’s like Watergate and yet it’s the updated version,” Erdman said. “It’s serious because it involves national security.”
Erdman said Flynn’s decision to plead guilty so quickly is an indicator he has key information.
“The information is important enough Mueller was willing to limit Flynn’s exposure to one charge and, we would imagine, to some sort of limited sentence for whatever sentencing will come from this guilty plea,” he said. “We’re dealing with an important national event. Crimes involving national security affect every living American.”
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