Disgraced national security adviser Michael Flynn is prepared to testify that President Trump “directed him to make contact with the Russians” during last year’s presidential campaign, according to reports.
Flynn has promised special counsel Robert Mueller his full cooperation as he pleads guilty to lying to the FBI, ABC News’ Brian Ross reported on Friday.
Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian diplomat, but was convinced to cooperate after he learned the extent of the information Mueller’s team had on him, Ross said.
“He is prepared to testify, we are told by a confidant, against President Trump, against members of the Trump family and others in the White House,” Ross said.
Flynn is ready to spill the beans on Trump, according to Ross.
He is prepared to testify that, as a candidate, Trump “directed him to make contact with the Russians.”
U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras said during Flynn’s plea hearing that the government will decide how effectively Flynn is cooperating as part of a plea agreement.
Flynn said, “my guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel’s Office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country.”
ABC also reported that Flynn made the decision to cooperate with Mueller only in the past 24 hours, as he faced mounting legal bills and intense pressure from prosecutors. “He is distraught about the decision, but feels he is doing the right thing for his country,” Ross said.
Ross’ report and the information from the plea hearing raised more questions about what exactly was asked of Flynn.
“If true, what kinds of things did Trump direct Flynn to request from Russians officials during and after the campaign?” former federal attorney Preet Bharara tweeted. “Trump is not know for caution or modest requests.”
Robert Costello, the former deputy chief of the Criminal Division for the U.S. Attorney’s Office of New York’s southern district, said Flynn’s guilty plea is “highly significant” for Mueller’s team.
“This can clearly create problems for Donald Trump,” Costello said.
Flynn may have violated the obscure Logan Act, a 1799 law barring citizens from negotiating with foreign governments.
“Unless you’re the U.S. government, you’re simply not allowed to contact the Russian government to discuss policy. That’s just a fact,” he said.
“President Trump is certainly more concerned today than he was yesterday,” Costello added.
Others noted the range of crimes that Flynn has been linked to, including violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act and failing to disclose contacts with Turkish officials, when compared to the one charge he faced on Friday.
“The fact that Flynn was charged with, and is pleading guilty to, such a minor crime, suggests a bombshell of a deal with prosecutors,” Cornell law professor Jens Ohlin told Reuters.
“Flynn was facing serious criminal liability for a variety of alleged missteps, including his failure to register as an agent of a foreign power,” Ohlin added. “If this is the entirety of the plea deal, the best explanation for why Mueller would agree to it is that Flynn has something very valuable to offer in exchange: damaging testimony on someone else.”
Costello, a registered Republican, said he believes Mueller’s probe could lead to Trump’s exit from the White House.
“He will clearly continue to work up the chain, it’s the standard game plan,” Costello said. “They try to get as many people to cooperate as possible, before they take final action, whatever that might be.
“In this case I think it could be impeachment,” he added.