President Trump said Saturday that he is not worried that former national security adviser Michael Flynn is cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
“Are you concerned about what Mike Flynn might tell the special counsel?” Trump was asked by a reporter outside the White House.
“No, I’m not,” the Republican replied.
“What has been shown is no collusion, no collusion. There has been absolutely no collusion, so we’re very happy.”
Flynn, a retired lieutenant general, pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI about contacts he had just after the election with Russia’s ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. As part of the plea deal, Flynn will cooperate with Mueller’s investigators as they continue probing whether the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government to sway the election.
The Flynn news was further evidence that the post-election Trump team met with Russians and lied about it, but it shed no new light on what went on before Election Day.
White House Special Counsel Ty Cobb issued a statement on Friday downplaying Flynn’s guilty plea, which reportedly caught the White House off guard.
“Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates any one other than Mr. Flynn,” Cobb said in a statement.
According to a statement of offense released by Mueller, Flynn made false statements to the FBI about two series of phone calls he had with Kislyak after the election.
Beginning on Dec. 22, he and Kislyak discussed a pending United Nations Security Council vote that would condemn Israel over its West Bank settlements. According to Mueller’s statement, Flynn was instructed by a “very senior” member of the Trump transition team to call foreign diplomats, including Kislyak, to quash the vote. That “very senior” official has been identified as Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.
A week later, Flynn and Kislyak spoke several times by phone about the Obama administration’s decision to slap a new round of sanctions on the Russian government for its role in hacking Democrats during the presidential campaign.
Flynn asked Kislyak not to retaliate against the sanctions, and to hold off until the Trump administration entered office. Flynn spoke with a “senior official” on the Trump transition team about the matter. That person has been identified as K.T. McFarland, a national security expert who went on to serve as Flynn’s deputy in the White House.
According to Mueller’s statement of offense, Flynn lied to FBI agents during an interview conducted at the White House on Jan. 24.