The Atlantic

If Flynn Is Small Fry, Who’s the Bigger Fish in Mueller’s Net?

The former national-security adviser pleads guilty to making false statements, and is now cooperating with the special counsel’s investigation.
Source: Susan Walsh / AP

Updated on December 1 at 12:00 p.m.

Whatever is on President Trump’s Christmas list, it didn’t include Friday’s news: Special Counsel Robert Mueller has charged former National-Security Adviser Michael Flynn with making false statements to the FBI about his conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Worse, Flynn pleaded guilty Friday morning at federal court in Washington.

It’s an ironic turn for a man who first reached widespread national attention leading chants of “Lock her up!” about Hillary Clinton at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

And it is monumental news in the special counsel’s investigation, dwarfing even the indictment of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. First, and most bluntly, it’s notable because the former national-security adviser, the closest adviser to the president on the most sensitive issues of defense and national safety, is pleading guilty to a felony committed while he served as national-security adviser.

Second, the move, a Flynn indictment filled the Trump team with particular dread, and for good reason. Before the Flynn charge, Mueller had charged two former campaign staffers with crimes committed outside of the campaign, and a low-level campaign staffer had pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about his contacts with Russians during the campaign.

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