- Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images
- White House lawyer Ty Cobb responded to the bombshell plea deal former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn agreed to.
- Cobb said the guilty plea doesn’t implicate “anyone other than Mr. Flynn.”
- Cobb called Flynn a “former Obama administration official.”
The White House on Friday said former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s guilty plea doesn’t implicate “anyone other than Mr. Flynn.”
Calling Flynn a “former Obama administration official,” White House lawyer Ty Cobb sought to separate the administration from the bombshell Flynn news.
“Today, Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser at the White House for 25 days during the Trump Administration, and a former Obama administration official, entered a guilty plea to a single count of making a false statement to the FBI,” Cobb said in a statement.
“The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year. Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn. The conclusion of this phase of the special counsel’s work demonstrates again that the special counsel is moving with all deliberate speed and clears the way for a prompt and reasonable conclusion.”
On Friday, Flynn pleaded guilty in federal court to making false statements to federal investigators about his discussions with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak last December.
According to an indictment filed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, Flynn “falsely stated” in late December 2016 during the presidential transition that he did not ask Kislyak “to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day,” and that he did not recall Kislyak later telling him Russia “had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request.”
Flynn additionally told Mueller’s team he did not ask Kislyak to “delay the vote on or defeat a pending UN Security Council resolution; and that the Russian ambassador subsequently never described to Flynn Russia’s response to his request.”
But legal experts told Business Insider that the plea deal struck between Flynn and Mueller is likely proof that the former top Trump administration official “has something very valuable to offer in exchange: damaging testimony on someone else.”
“Who? That’s not clear, but it probably is someone at the center – or close to the center – of this criminal enterprise,” Jens David Ohlin, a professor at Cornell Law School, told Business Insider, adding that the fact Flynn was “charged with, and is pleading guilty to, such a minor crime, suggests a bombshell of a deal with prosecutors.