Flynn: Trump transition officials directed contacts with Russians

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WASHINGTON — Special counsel Robert Mueller has charged former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn with “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI regarding conversations with Russia’s ambassador.

CBS News has learned the ex-Trump advisor is cooperating with investigators and claimed President Trump’s transition officials directed his contacts with the Russians.

He said he personally spoke with a senior member of the team, who was with other members of the President’s transition team down at Mar-a-Lago. Flynn said they specifically talked about what he should discuss with the Russian ambassador, and he was told he should focus on the sanctions and how to escalate the situation between Russia and the United States.

Flynn turned himself in to the FBI Friday morning. He was processed, charged and sent to federal court. He pleaded guilty to the charges before U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras at a D.C. federal courthouse.

Prosecutors said Flynn falsely stated to the FBI that he had not discussed sanctions with the then-Russian ambassador to the United States.

Flynn is the first Trump administration official and the fourth connected to the campaign to be charged as part of Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and members of President Trump’s team, as well as potential obstruction of justice and financial crimes.

President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates were indicted last month; they pleaded not guilty. Foreign Policy Adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty for making a false statement to the FBI over contacts with officials connected to the Russian government.

The charge against Flynn is the first in Mueller’s probe that have reached someone in the Trump White House and is the latest sign that the special counsel investigation is intensifying.

This is a breaking news story.

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