Top White House lawyer calls Michael Flynn an 'Obama administration official' in statement distancing Trump from Russia plea deal

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  • Top White House lawyer Ty Cobb tried to distance the administration from Michael Flynn on Friday after Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators.
  • Cobb referred to President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser as a “former Obama administration official.”

Top White House lawyer Ty Cobb tried to distance the Trump administration from its former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to federal investigators.

In a statement after the guilty plea was announced, Cobb referred to Flynn as a “former Obama administration official” and noted that he only worked in President Donald Trump’s White House for 25 days.

Flynn formerly served as director of the Defence Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama, but was fired. Obama and other Obama administration officials reportedly warned Trump and his allies not to hire Flynn.

“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.”

Flynn pleaded guilty in federal court to making false statements to federal investigators about his discussions with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak last December.

Per 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.”

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