Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is ready to flip on Trump, his family, and his administration.
Former Trump National Security Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. The plea is reportedly part of an agreement to reveal how Donald Trump, his family, and other members of the administration colluded with Russia and tried to cover it up.
ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross reported that as part of his plea, Flynn is prepared to testify that Trump instructed him to speak to Russian officials during the presidential transition period.
The goal of these interactions was to lessen sanctions against Russia imposed by the Obama administration for election interference. As Ross noted, this "contradicts all that Donald Trump has said at this point."
While Ross' report does not name which administration members — besides Trump — are directly implicated in Flynn's agreement, Mike Pence led the transition team that approved Flynn's appointment.
JUST IN: @BrianRoss on @ABC News Special Report: Michael Flynn promised "full cooperation to the Mueller team" and is prepared to testify that as a candidate, Donald Trump "directed him to make contact with the Russians." https://t.co/aiagnvr8eS pic.twitter.com/r8u2LWAd0O
— ABC News (@ABC) December 1, 2017
ROSS: He has promised full cooperation to the Mueller team. He is prepared to testify, we are told by a confidant, against President Trump, against members of the Trump family, and others in the White House. He is prepared to testify that President Trump, as a candidate — Donald Trump — ordered him, directed him, to make contact with the Russians, which contradicts all that Donald Trump has said at this point. As well, we're told that Flynn made the decision to cooperate only in the last 24 hours, that he is distraught about the decision, but feels he's doing the right thing for his country.
Top leadership in the Trump campaign met with Russian operatives during the campaign seeking dirt on Hillary Clinton. That includes Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort.
Flynn also reportedly informed a "senior official" of the Trump transition team of his conversations with the Russian government in December. The senior official's identity is not know, but Pence, as head of the transition team, might have been aware of Flynn's actions, despite his insistence later that he knew nothing of Flynn's activities.
Flynn's decision to flip directly implicates Trump and his immediate family, as well as possibly the vice president.
Update: ABC News later issued the following correction, noting that investigative reporter Brian Ross' source indicated that it was as president-elect, not as a candidate, that Trump asked Flynn to contact the Russians:
CORRECTION of ABC News Special Report: Flynn prepared to testify that President-elect Donald Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians *during the transition* -- initially as a way to work together to fight ISIS in Syria, confidant now says. https://t.co/ewrkVZTu2K pic.twitter.com/URLiHf3uSm
— ABC News (@ABC) December 2, 2017