Leaked emails show Flynn's right-hand woman, KT McFarland, discussing Obama's Russia sanctions hours after they were announced
McFarland said that the December 29 declaration was designed to get the incoming president to make rash tweet
'If there is a tit-for-tat escalation Trump will have difficulty improving relations with Russia, which has just thrown USA election to him,' she wrote.
The White House lawyer dealing with the Russia probe said she was talking about how the election was portrayed by the Dems
The email was also sent to Flynn, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer and Steve Bannon; that day Flynn called Russian ambassador
White House said Flynn had a mandate to call ambassador despite 1799 law, and Flynn's lies to FBI were only illegal act
Trump tweeted on Saturday that he knew Flynn lied and that was why he fired him - leading to claims he committed felony
Flynn admitted lying to FBI investigators on Friday and he is now cooperating with the Russian probe
Published: 19:47 EST, 2 December 2017 | Updated: 19:47 EST, 2 December 2017
Newly uncovered emails suggest that - despite claims by the White House - ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was not acting alone when he talked to Russia prior to Donald Trump assuming office.
Flynn spoke to Russian diplomat Sergey Kislyak while the Obama administration was in power - which is illegal under the 1799 Logan Act - and later lied about doing so to the FBI.
The White House said that he had gone rogue, but the emails - obtained by The New York Times - appear to show Trump's transition team, including Flynn, discussing tactics for keeping Russia on-side before he would enter office.
And at one point then-transition team member KT McFarland, who worked closely with the disgraced adviser, says that Russia 'has just thrown USA election to [Trump]'.
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Newly leaked emails from KT McFarland (right) to her boss Michael Flynn (right) sent the day he spoke to Russians suggest he may not have been acting alone despite White House claims
The White House says Flynn's December 29 discussion with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak (pictured) was made after he went rogue, but McFarland's email shows the transition team actively discussing the Russia situation
The emails - some of which were seen by the NYT, some of which were described to it - were sent among Trump's transition team on December 29, just hours after Obama announced sanctions on Russia.
The sanctions were made in response to the Russian campaign to scupper Hillary Clinton's run for the presidency.
McFarland's email was sent to another transition official, Thomas P Bossert, who is now Trump's homeland security adviser.
Bossert then forwarded it on to a six of Trump's advisers, including Flynn.
Also on the forwarding list was new chief of staff Reince Priebus; then-senior strategist Steve Bannon; and soon-to-be-press secretary Sean Spicer.
In the emails McFarland said that Obama's move had been intended to 'box Trump in diplomatically with Russia,' which would in turn affect his options with Iran, Syria and other countries.
'Russia is key that unlocks door,' she wrote.
She also said that the sanctions were a plot to 'lure Trump in trap of saying something' to defend Russia and with the intention of 'discrediting Trump's victory by saying it was due to Russian interference.'
'If there is a tit-for-tat escalation Trump will have difficulty improving relations with Russia, which has just thrown USA election to him,' she wrote.
Bossert replied by urging all the top advisers to 'defend election legitimacy now.'
Ty Cobb, the White House lawyer overseeing the ongoing Russia inquiry, denied that the staff had done anything illegal or unethical.
Flynn has admitted to lying to the FBI and is cooperating with the Russia investigation. The White House denies that he was breaking the 1799 Logan Act by speaking to a foreign power
The act forbids unauthorized people from representing the US to foreign governments. Jared Kushner (center) told Flynn to call other heads of state, an insider said
''It would have been political malpractice not to discuss sanctions,' he said, and added that 'the presidential transition guide specifically encourages contact with and outreach to foreign dignitaries.'
He also denied that the Logan Act - which forbids unauthorized people, as Flynn was prior to Trump's ascension, from communicating with foreign governments - applied to the team.
Prosecutors have not invoked the act since the 19th century, he said, adding that it 'certainly' doesn't apply to a presidential transition team.
But Flynn did contact US Russian ambassador - and alleged spy - Sergey Kislyak the day the emails were sent, then lied about doing so to the FBI.
Those lies, said Cobb, were the only illegal actions taken by a member of the transition team, and also the reason for Trump firing Flynn.
A White House insider also said that Flynn called other heads of state at the behest of Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and now a close adviser.
That was done despite previously agreeing to a 'pointed request' from the Obama administration not to confuse international relations by talking to foreign powers, and to copy in Obama's State Department on correspondence, the insider said.
Cobb denied that the transition team had agreed to that request, despite the insider's claim.
According to court documents released on Friday, Flynn asked Kislyak to ensure that Russia 'not escalate the situation,' and discussed the sanctions with him.
They documents say he then told another official, believed to be McFarland, about the call - including the sanction talks - and a few days later notified the transition team.
McFarland (left) said Russia had 'thrown the election to Trump' in the emails, although the White House's lawyer said she was just talking about how Dems were representing situation
The conversation apparently worked; despite Obama's administration expecting a 'bellicose' response to the sanctions, including kicking Americans out of Moscow, Vladimir Putin remained surprisingly restrained.
The emails do not show that Trump himself was involved in the discussions, although a phone conference between him, Flynn, McFarland, Priebus and Bannon was scheduled for 5pm, just after McFarland sent the emails.
It's unclear if that conference was held.
Flynn was fired on February 13. The day after, Trump confronted then-FBI head James Comey and, Comey said, told him to drop the investigation into Russia and Flynn.
'I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,' Trump said, according to a memo written by Comey immediately after their private meeting.
Trump has never admitted to the incident.
Comey described the confrontation to Congress as 'concerning' and 'very disturbing' but declined to say outright that Trump was trying to obstruct justice.
That's an accusation Trump has faced again on Saturday after he tweeted that he knew Michael Flynn lied to the FBI and that this was why he fired him.
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Democrats were quick to jump on the tweet, claiming that this itself would be a crime if he then went on to ask James Comey to 'go easy on him' in the Russia probe as is claimed.
On Saturday, Trump tweeted that he knew Flynn lied to federal investigators over his contact with Russian officials but that he never needed to because all his their interactions were 'lawful'.
'I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!' he said.
Those remarks echoed Cobb's comments to the New York Times.
The tweet, which he sent while his motorcade was stuck in traffic as it left a Republican fundraising event in New York City, was an attempt by the president to defend Flynn and disprove suspicion that there was any collusion between his aides and the Kremlin.
Instead, it placed scrutiny back on him and fueled talk of a different offense entirely.
President Trump addressed Michael Flynn's admission that he lied to the FBI, tweeting on Saturday that he knew about the dishonesty and that it was why he fired him - a claim which some say now implicates him for obstructing justice
Trump fired off the tweet while stuck in traffic in his motorcade after leaving a Republican fundraising event in New York City (above) where he boasted about the overnight tax victory
Stunned political pundits and Democrats quickly linked it to Trump's apparent request of former FBI Director James Comey to go 'easy' on Flynn the day after he was fired.
Flynn was fired on February 13. At the time, the president said the decision was based on him misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his interaction with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak on December 22.
He did not admit to knowing Flynn lied in an interview with the FBI in January.
On February 14, Trump met with FBI Director Comey. Comey claims he was asked during this meeting to 'go easy' on Flynn and drop the investigation into Russian collusion.
He was fired on May 9 and says it was because he never complied with this alleged request.
The president has never admitted asking him to 'go easy' on Flynn and said that he fired him over his handling of the Hillary Clinton email scandal - which many say won him the election - months earlier.
Incredulous Democrats tweeted their disbelief over Trump's remarks on Saturday.
'The president asked his FBI Director to let his National Security Advisor off the hook for committing the crime of lying to the FBI.
'When Comey refused, he was fired. There's your obstruction case,' said Jon Favreau, one of Barack Obama's speech writers.
Political journalist Matthew Miller echoed his astonishment.
'Oh my god, he just admitted to obstruction of justice. If Trump knew Flynn lied to the FBI when he asked Comey to let it go, then there is your case.
'Never tweet.* *Especially if you’re going to tweet an admission to a crime,' he said.
Obama White House staffers and political journalists were stunned by the president's tweet and said it proved obstruction of justice
Confident: Earlier on Saturday, Trump spoke outside the White House to say he was 'not worried' by Flynn's admission of guilt because it still did not prove Russian collusion
In June, fired FBI Director James Comey testified that in regards to Flynn, Trump told him on February 14: 'I hope you can let this go.'
Comey said he was talking about Flynn, who he fired days earlier.
Trump's Saturday tweet turned all talk of collusion into questions of obstructions of justice. Critics said it was enough for him to be impeached if it could be proven that he indeed asked Comey to drop the investigation.
The president was unperturbed by Flynn's admission of guilt and told reporters earlier in the day that it did not incriminate him or anyone in his camp.
Asked if he was worried about what Flynn will now reveal, Trump said without a beat: 'No I am not. What has been shown is what has been shown is there's been absolutely no collusion so we're very happy.'
He refused to say whether or not he would stand by Flynn, saying only: 'We'll see what happens'.
He then tried to steer reporters' attention to Republicans' overnight victory in the Senate where they managed to approve a drastic tax overhaul bill in the early hours of the morning.
On Friday, Flynn suddenly admitted lying to the FBI about not having contact with Russian officials when he was part of Trump's team
On June 8, former FBI Director James Comey testified that the president asked him to 'go easy' on Flynn on February 14, the day after Flynn was fired
Comey was fired on May 9. He testified earlier this year that he believes he was let go for not dropping the investigation into Flynn and into the White House's possible collusion with Russia - a claim Trump has always denied
Comey revelled in Flynn's guilty plea on Friday and tweeted this Bible verse
HOW WE GOT HERE: TRUMP, FLYNN, COMEY AND RUSSIA
December 22, 2016: A 'very senior member' of the Trump transition team tells Flynn to 'contact officials from foreign governments, including Russia' to discuss U.N. resolution on Israeli settlements
According to prosecutors, Flynn and Kislyak have a conversation in which Flynn asks Russia to vote against the resolution or to delay it.
December 15: Flynn texts Kislyak to wish him a Merry Christmas
December 28: Obama announces punitive measures on Russia for interfering in the campaign
December 29: Prosecutors say Flynn calls unnamed senior WH official who was at Mar-a-Lago to ask what he should say to Kislyak about measures.
Flynn asked Kislyak to dial down Russia's response to Obama's announcement and he agreed. This is what is alleged in charging documents which Flynn has now pleaded guilty to
January 20: Trump is sworn in
January 22: Flynn is sworn in
January 24: Flynn is interviewed by FBI about December conversations with Kislyak. During this interview, he lied about what they discussed - namely claiming it was not an inappropriate request from him for them to dial down their response to Obama's announcement
January 26: Acting AG Sally Yates tells WH special counsel Flynn lied to the press, who he has since told that he did not discuss sanctions
February 9: Vice President Mike Pence learns of Yates' warning
February 13: Flynn resigns at the president's request. He says it is because he 'incorrectly' briefed Pence about Kislyak phone calls.
Trump gives a statement saying he fired Flynn because he lied to Vice President Pence.
February 14: President and James Comey meet with others in the Oval Office. Afterwards, he asks him to stay behind to discuss the investigationin to Flynn.
Trump allegedly tells Comey that Flynn 'is a good guy,' saying he hopes Comey 'can let this go.'
May 9: Trump fires Comey, claiming it is because of his handling of Hillary Clinton's email scandal months earlier
May 17: Mueller appointed to take over Russia probe
June 8: Comey testifies about the meeting in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Trump denies it through his attorneys and in the media, saying: 'No collusion, no obstruction, he's a leaker. We want to get back to running our great country.'
November 30: FBI files charges against Flynn
December 1: Flynn pleads guilty and agrees to cooperate with investigators
December 2: Trump at first says he is 'not worried' about Flynn's contact with Russian officials and then, at 12.14pm, writes his tweet
'Frankly, last night was one of the big nights,' said Trump, before making his way on to the South Lawn to board Marine One.
He went on to a fundraising breakfast in New York City where he continued to bask in the win.
As Trump brushed off Flynn's sudden admission of guilt, the disgraced army general was rebuked by former comrades.
Among them was Lt. General. Mark Hertling who said he acted in 'hubris and vengeance' by agreeing to meet officials to further Trump's presidential run.
'Mike Flynn went over the top, and that was the first indicator that something was desperately wrong with this guy,' Hertling said of Flynn's apparent obsession with a Trump election victory.
'I think something went wrong toward the end of his career; that demons got ahold of him, and for one reason or another, hubris and vengeance took over where, in the past, there had been professionalism,' he said.
Several White House sources say Jared Kushner is who Flynn claims ordered him to contact Russian officials on December 22 to discuss a United Nations resolution on Israel.
Former White House National Security Advisor K.T. Mcfarland, who currently works as the U.S. ambassador to Singapore, has also been accused of speaking to Flynn on December 29 about Russian sanctions in a meeting at Mar-A-Lago.
Jared in the crosshairs: NBC and CNN named Kushner as the mystery senior Trump official who Flynn, in testimony under oath, says ordered him to contact Russia
Former White House National Security Advisor K.T. Mcfarland (right) has also been accused of speaking to Flynn (left) on December 29 about Russian sanctions in a meeting at Mar-A-Lago
Sergey Kislyak was Russia's ambassador to the U.S. when Flynn spoke to him before Trump's inauguration. Four days later Flynn lied to the FBI about what he said to the Putin diplomat
Their names emerged on Friday as Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts with Russia and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors delving deeper into the actions of Trump's inner circle before he took office in January.
A federal statement of offense against Flynn states that a 'very senior' member of the Trump transition team 'directed' Flynn to reach out to foreign leaders about a UN resolution – 'including Russia' – to find out where the leaders stood.
The information laid out by prosecutors against Flynn outline a series of conversations undertaken by Flynn to influence a UN security resolution about Israel during the final days of the Obama administration.
Now that Kushner has been identified as that 'very senior' member, the focus of the investigation moves even closer to Trump.
The 1799 Logan Act, which is rarely invoked in prosecutions, makes it a federal crime to negotiate with foreign governments who have a dispute with the U.S.. Flynn's contacts with Russia took place while the prior administration was already in place – and Trump and his team did not yet have formal governing power.
In addition, Kushner was still a private citizen at the time and real estate developer who quickly became a close confidante and adviser to his father-in-law's presidential campaign.
Notorious figure: Kisylak (right) was in communication with Flynn before Trump took office - but long after the inauguration he was invited to the Oval Office with Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, for a meeting with Trump which was photographed by Russian media, not American reporters
Outside of any testimony Flynn may be able to provide, Kushner has other potential exposure – having failed to disclose numerous foreign contacts including with Russians on his SF-86 form, which was required to gain his security clearance.
Flynn has promised to testify 'against Trump, against members of his family, and others in the White House.'
The former trusted aide said he will provide 'full cooperation' to Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his Russia probe after his stunning guilty plea in federal court Friday morning.
'My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the special counsel’s office reflect a decision I made in the best interest of my family and of our country. I accept full responsibility for my actions,' Flynn said in a statement.
I LET DOWN MY COUNTRY BUT I'M NOT A TRAITOR: FLYNN'S EXTRAORDINARY STATEMENT...
After over thirty-three years of military service to our country including five years in combat away from my family and then my decision to continue to serve the United States, it has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of treason and other outrageous acts.
Such false accusations are contrary to everything I’ve ever done and stood for.
But I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong.
Through my faith in God I am working to set things right.
My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the special counsel’s office reflect a decision I made in the best interest of my family and of our country. I accept full responsibility for my actions.'
Judge Rudolph Contreras accepted Flynn's guilty plea and the maximum sentence is five years in prison.
Contreras said: 'There will be no trial and there will be probably no appeal.'
Flynn reportedly caved in to plead guilty in the least 24 hours after mounting emotional and financial pressure. He also wanted to do the 'right thing for his country.'
He said in a statement: 'After over thirty-three years of military service to our country including five years in combat away from my family and then my decision to continue to serve the United States, it has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of treason and other outrageous acts.'
When he left court with his wife, they rushed to the Alexandria, Virginia home of his son Mike Flynn Jr and spent time with his grandson, Travis.
His son - who had been a focus of FBI interest previously for his links to Russia - tweeted a statement of thanks.
Flynn's plea shook political Washington, even as it sent Wall Street into a tailspin.
The Dow Jones industrial average briefly dropped 350 points, although it closed down only 41 points on the day.
The White House had planned a 'pool spray' of the president's meeting with Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj of Libya, but abruptly cancelled an event with cameras and reporters Friday morning.
White House lawyer Ty Cobb issued a blistering statement about Flynn who previously worked as a defense intelligence official that was first fired by President Obama only to be hired by Trump months later.
'Today, Michael Flynn, a former National Security Advisor 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,' said Cobb.
'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 president's lawyer said.
THE TRUMP AIDES ALREADY FACING JAIL - SO WHO WILL MUELLER TARGET NEXT?
Trump campaign manager March - August 2016
Manafort, 68, was charged with conspiracy against the US, conspiracy to launder, and other charges, after US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia undertook a campaign of hacking and misinformation to tilt the election in Trump's favor. He pleaded not guilty in October to a 12-count indictment by a federal grand jury.
Business associate and deputy to Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort
Gates, 45, was indicted along with his business associate, Paul Manafort after the first charges from the probe of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election were unsealed. He pleaded not guilty to a 12-count indictment
Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, March 2016 - January 2017
Papadopoulos, 30, pleaded guilty on October 5 to making false statements to investigators about his conversations with overseas sources about potential Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton.
'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.'
Mueller's team has been investigating Russian interference in the U.S. elections, as well as possible obstruction of justice and other issues.
According to a statement of the offense released by Mueller's office, Flynn lied just days before Trump took office as president about his contacts with Russia's then ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.
Flynn stated that on December 29 he 'did not ask the Government of Russia's Ambassador to the United States ('Russian Ambassador') to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day,' according to the feds.
That relates to the sanctions President Obama slapped on Russia shortly before leaving office for election interference.
But on December 29, Flynn called a member of Trump's presidential transition team, who was with other senior transition team members at Mar-a-Lago.
Flynn and the officials discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia, as well as 'the potential impact of those sanctions on the incoming administration’s foreign policy goals’ and that members of the transition ‘did not want Russia to escalate the situation.’
Immediately after the call, according to the statement of offense, Flynn called Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak and requested that Russia 'not escalate the situation.'
On December 30, just days later, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a statement stating Russia would not take retaliatory action – the preference Flynn heard about from Mar-a-Lago.
Flynn also stated that he 'did not recall the Russian Ambassador subsequently telling him that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request.
Flynn also stated that in an additional instance, on December 22, 2016, he 'did not ask the Russian Ambassador to delay the vote on or defeat a pending United National Security Council resolution; and that the Russian Ambassador subsequently never described to Flynn Russia's response to his request.'
The Security Council resolution condemned Israel for new settlement activity. In a rare diplomatic break from a key ally, the Obama administration abstained from the resolution.
Trump's transition team vigorously tried to lobby against the resolution, breaking with tradition that the U.S. government speak with one diplomatic voice.
Flynn himself called foreign ambassadors of security council members, including Uruguay and Malaysia.
According to the information, Flynn made his false statements to the FBI on January 24, 2017 – just four days after Trump took office.
Flynn was 'directed' by a 'very senior' member of the transition team to reach out to foreign leaders about the UN resolution – 'including Russia' – to find out where the leaders stood.
Mueller alleges that Flynn willfully made 'false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements in a matter within the jurisdiction' of the U.S. government, including the FBI.
Lying to the FBI is a felony charge which carries a fine and up to five years in prison.
Back in March, Flynn's attorney, Robert Kellner, stated with respect to congressional investigators probing Russia that 'General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit,' implying a willingness to cooperate.
The information released by the FBI does not mention other areas reportedly under investigation – including potential violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Flynn filed amended reports after disclosures of work he had done on behalf of the government of Turkey.
As a critical person in Trump's campaign and national security team, Flynn was present for consequential decisions during the formative days of the administration and functioned as a main conduit for contacts with Russian officials.
He could be an essential witness for Mueller as he investigates potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.
In recent days White House lawyers have downplayed the significance of Flynn's legal troubles for the president, drawing a clear line between Flynn's personal baggage and his work on the Trump campaign and the administration.
Kushner and Flynn were both prominent figures in the Trump campaign, the presidential transition and the early days of the Trump administration.
The two also took part in discussions during the presidential transition with Kislyak about establishing a back-channel between the two countries.
That was a possible indication of prosecutors' interest given Mueller's mandate to probe contacts between Trump associates and the Kremlin.
Flynn was forced to resign from the White House in February after officials concluded that he had misled them about his contacts with Kislyak during the transition period.
Weeks before he was fired, he was interviewed by the FBI about that communication, and former FBI Director James Comey has said Flynn was under investigation for potentially lying to federal agents about the nature of their conversation.
Mueller's grand jury had planned in coming days to hear testimony from an employee of a public relations company that worked with Flynn's firm on $530,000 worth of lobbying and investigative research for a Turkish businessman.
The testimony was slated to focus on Flynn's firm's interactions with congressional staff. But it was abruptly postponed by prosecutors.
The details of Kushner's questioning and the postponement of the grand jury testimony were confirmed by people familiar with Mueller's investigation.
They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the ongoing investigation.
Asked about the meeting with Mueller, Kushner's attorney, Abbe Lowell, did not elaborate on the nature of the question, saying only in a statement his client 'has voluntarily cooperated with all relevant inquiries and will continue to do so.'
Mueller's spokesman, Peter Carr, has yet to comment on the special counsel's ongoing investigation that has now stretched into its seventh month.
The fallen military hero who could bring down a president: How Mike Flynn marched into Trump's inner circle – and now his lies and links to Russia threaten the presidency
BY ALANA GOODMAN FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
Mike Flynn was a three-star decorated Army general and the guardian of America’s top military secrets – and now he is poised to end his career with a sentence in federal prison after pleading guilty to lying to federal investigators.
The 58-year-old Army veteran worked his way up the military ranks for over three decades, from second lieutenant in military intelligence in 1981 until he retired as a three-star lieutenant general in 2014.
He has served in both Democratic and Republican administrations. He was appointed by President Obama as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014, the agency that oversees U.S. military intelligence operations.
But that tenure ended in a bitter firing amid claims that he veered into conspiracy theories. Others laughed about ‘Flynn facts’, the fake claims he had fallen for despite being at the pinnacle of military intelligence.
Flynn’s tenure in the Trump administration was considerably shorter – and even more disastrous for all concerned.
Mike Flynn was a three-star decorated Army general and the guardian of America’s top military secrets – and now he is poised to end his career with a sentence in federal prison after pleading guilty to lying to federal investigators
According to the information, which includes just a single count, Flynn lied just days before President Trump took office about his contacts with Russia's then ambassador to the U.S.
In this image made from a video taken on December 10, 2015 and made available on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, Michael Flynn, left, sits next to Russian President Vladimir Putin, in Moscow
He lasted just 24 days as President Trump’s National Security Advisor before he was fired amid allegations that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russian officials during the presidential transition.
The conservative movement’s embrace of Flynn – an Obama-era official and lifelong Democrat until he led the ‘lock her up’ chants at the Republican convention in 2016 – was just one of the unexpected spectacles of the last election cycle.
Flynn’s tough-talking approach to national security and his vocal denunciations of political Islam and his public clashes with the Obama administration endeared him to many on the political right.
But Flynn’s time as a conservative icon was short-lived. He was ousted as Trump’s National Security Advisor in February, and has been under investigation by federal law enforcement and congress over the past year.
Now Flynn faces up to five years in prison after pleading guilty to lying to federal investigators about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.
Flynn was born in December 1958. His parents, who he once described as strong Democrats, traveled the world for his World War II veteran father’s military career before settling down in Middletown, Rhode Island.
Growing up, Flynn shared bunk beds and a small bedroom with his brother Chris – he is one of nine children, who remain close - before he left home to attend college at the University of Rhode Island.
Flynn was known among friends and family members as the more outgoing brother, according to a 2011 profile of the former general in the Newport Daily News. He also loved ‘cheap cars’ and ‘pizza’ and rock music – especially the songs of Lou Reed.
In this undated photo provided by Joe Flynn, Michael Flynn, left, stands with his mother Helen Flynn, right, near a football field, in Middletown, Rhode Island
Packed in: The Flynns were brought up in this 1,200 square ft beach house, which his mother Helen ran as a 'bunkhouse', his brother Jack said
One family member told the paper that Flynn’s outlook was largely shaped by the ‘scrappy, no BS Irish-Catholic humble start [he] had in Newport.’ Flynn went on to attend the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, and was commissioned into the Army as an intelligence officer in 1981.
Growing up so close to the ocean in Rhode Island, Flynn, along with his siblings, became strong swimmers and surfers. And the retired military man became known for his skateboarding style and boldness in the water.
And while he was at the center of the Mueller probe in July, months before he was charged, Flynn was spotted surfing with his sister.
His military career eventually took him to Washington, where he served as the president’s intelligence advisor for the Joint Staff from 2007 to 2008, and later as an intelligence advisor on Afghanistan.
Flynn became a three-star general – one of 230 active Army generals at the time – and was appointed to lead the Defense Intelligence Agency by President Obama in 2012.
Flynn lasted just two years at the agency before his military career ended when Obama dismissed him as defense intelligence chief in 2014.
Flynn claimed he was pushed out for holding tougher views than the Obama administration about Islamic extremism, others claim it was due to his clashes with others in the administration and ‘turbulence’ at the agency – including the damaging intelligence leaks from Edward Snowden in 2013.
Flynn set up a company accepting speaking fees from Russian entities after he was forced from service into retirement by Obama administration in 2014
Writing an op-ed for the New York Post in July 2016, Flynn said: 'The military fired me for calling our enemies radical jihadis. I knew then it had more to do with the stand I took on radical Islamism and the expansion of al Qaeda and its associated movements.
He blamed his dismissal on 'the bureaucracy' and said that things had gotten 'too politicized.'
After leaving the Obama administration, Flynn went into private sector and founded a lobbying and consulting firm called Flynn Intel Group. That decision now seems to have set in motion his doom.
His clients have included foreign businesses, including a Dutch firm with ties to the Turkish government.
The company, Inovo, owned by Turkish-American businessman Ekim Alpetkin, paid Flynn over $500,000 last fall to lobby on its behalf.
Flynn, who was also advising the Trump campaign at the time, was asked by the company to conduct research into Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, an adversary of Turkish President Recep Erdogan.
Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania, has been accused of engineering an unsuccessful coup against Erdogan. Flynn was reportedly hired to investigate Gulen and put together a film about the case.
Although Flynn registered as a lobbyist, he did not register as a foreign agent at the time.
He retroactively filed foreign agent registration papers this year, after his attorney’s acknowledged the project’s potential benefit to the Turkish government and Alpetkin’s links to Turkish officials.
Investigators early on focused not only on Flynn, but on his son, Michael Flynn Jr (pictured with Flynn), making the military man concerned about legal exposure born by his son
Flynn Jr has propagated the view that Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, according to CNN
He has also speculated that Sen. Marco Rubio, who lost to Trump in the Republican primary campaign, was secretly gay and indulged in cocaine
Flynn has also come under fire for accepting $35,000 from the Russian state-sponsored news channel RT to speak at its 10th anniversary gala in Moscow in 2015. Damningly, he sat beside Putin.
Over the past few years, Flynn had grown increasingly vocal in his criticism of political Islam and its connection to terrorism.
In 2016, Flynn called Islamism a ‘vicious cancer inside the body of 1.7 billion people’ that ‘has to be excised.’
Flynn became a prominent surrogate for Donald Trump during the 2016 election, at one point drawing speculation that he might be chosen as a vice presidential candidate.
He admitted he submitted his name for consideration, despite being registered as a Democrat.
He ultimately joined the Trump campaign as an advisor and gave a speech supporting the candidate at the 2016 Republican National Convention.
During the campaign, Flynn often denounced Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server to send classified information while serving as secretary of state. At one rally, he encouraged the audience’s chants of ‘lock her up!’ and declared, ‘If I did a tenth of what she did, I’d be in jail today.’
Flynn’s son, Mike Flynn Jr., went further with his criticism of Clinton, and his comments became a magnet for controversy during the campaign and the presidential transition.
The younger Flynn, who worked alongside his father on the presidential transition and the Trump campaign, appeared to endorse the ‘Pizzagate’ internet theory promoted by critics of Clinton last December.
The theory alleged that Hillary Clinton aide John Podesta was involved in a child sex trafficking ring supposedly run out of the Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C.
Although the theory was never substantiated, one man was arrested last winter for carrying a gun to the restaurant and firing several shots after reading about the ‘Pizzagate’ allegations online. Nobody was injured and the man was arrested and taken into custody on the spot.
‘Until #Pizzagate proven to be false, it'll remain a story. The left seems to forget #PodestaEmails and the many "coincidences" tied to it,’ wrote Flynn Jr. on Twitter.
Flynn Jr. also previously claimed on Twitter that minorities only voted for Obama because of his skin color, and promoted theories that Marco Rubio used cocaine and participated in ‘gayish’ dance parties.
Flynn Jr. was let go by the Trump transition team last December, shortly before his father was tapped as Trump’s National Security Advisor in January.
The elder Flynn lasted less than a month in the job before he was fired for allegedly misleading Vice President Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.
But those days when he did serve saw him at the heart of the administration. ‘He was always in the room, and on every call,’ one official told The New Yorker.
That may be what will make Trump and those around him sweat most.
Mike Flynn's son Mike Jr posted this picture in June of the disgraced national security adviser and his sister Barbara Redgate surfing in June
The Flynn family grew up surfing on Rhode Island where they lived in Middletown and Mike was known for his willingness to go into riskier waters
Federal officials say Flynn had multiple contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak after the election and during Trump’s presidential transition. The calls between Flynn and Kislyak were allegedly intercepted through intelligence gathering by the Obama administration.
Flynn’s name was later released to the Washington Post – which reported that Flynn and the Russian ambassador discussed the possibility of the Trump administration repealing Russian sanctions.
According to federal investigators, Flynn asked Russian Ambassador Kislyak to hold off on any political retaliation last December in response to the Obama administration’s decision to increase sanctions on Russia in the wake of the presidential election.
The Obama administration had placed the sanctions on Russia last year, after multiple U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government was involved in hacking the Democratic National Committee.
Intelligence officials claimed Russia released thousands of embarrassing emails to Wikileaks related to the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton, in an attempt to tip the presidential election in favour of Trump.
Prosecutors said Flynn also asked the Russian ambassador to delay voting on a UN resolution that was critical of Israel during a conversation last Dec. 22, but told investigators that he did not recall discussing this.
These revelations came shortly after Vice President Mike Pence publicly defended Flynn and said the National Security Advisor did not discuss sanctions with Russian officials.
After the Washington Post report, Flynn was fired and administration officials said he had lied to the vice president.
At the time, Flynn’s lawyers dismissed the allegations as ‘unfounded allegations, outrageous claims of treason, and vicious innuendo.’ Flynn has not publicly commented on the matter since February.
But he was clearly deeply in trouble, and financially close to ruin. He and his family launched an appeal for cash for his defense fund, and while his son told how his father was surfing regularly, in reality he was sweating over his own and his family’s future.
Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about the conversations on Friday.
Flynn is the second subject to plead guilty in connection to the Mueller probe. Former Trump national security advisor George Papadopoulos also pleaded guilty in October for lying about his Russian contacts.
Former Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates pleaded not guilty to financial-related crimes in October.
Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5140245/Emails-suggest-Flynn-didnt-rogue-Russia-call.html