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Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI

Photo: Susan Walsh / AP

Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn entered a guilty plea at a federal courthouse in D.C. on Friday to charges of lying to the FBI. He has agreed to cooperate with the government and is facing penalties of up to a $250,000 fine and 5 years in prison. He will not be jailed for the time being but will have to report weekly by phone.

Flynn admitted in his plea that Trump transition officials directed his contacts with Russian officials, per the AP, a development that could have far-reaching consequences as the Mueller probe moves forward.

  • In a statement, Flynn said: "Actions I acknowledged in court today are wrong, and 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 interests of my family and of our country. I accept full responsibility for my actions."
  • Ty Cobb, a member of President Trump's legal team, said in a statement: "Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn."
  • Go Deeper: How Mueller closed in on Flynn ; The latest Flynn developments ; Read the charges ; Everyone Mueller has charged.

The judge noted that, at a later date, the U.S. can determine Flynn has provided enough information to prosecute another person.

Prosecutors say after speaking with then-Russian ambassador Kislyak, Flynn called a senior member of the transition team who was then at Mar-a-Lago and discussed his conversations with Kislyak, as well as Russia's response to U.S. sanctions over election meddling.

What's next: A sentencing report is scheduled for February 1, 2018. The sentencing hearing date has not yet been set, but a failure to appear at the hearing would result in new charges. He will not be able to appeal his sentence or conviction, with "very limited exceptions," as he has waived his right to a trial.

Mike Allen 10 hours ago
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A huge clue about Mueller's endgame

Robert Mueller testifies before Congress in 2013. Photo: Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

Axios has learned that special counsel Robert Mueller has focused on events since the election — not during the campaign — in his conversations with President Trump's lawyers. The top two topics that Mueller has expressed interest in so far: the firings of FBI director James Comey and national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Why it matters: That suggests a focus on obstruction of justice while in office, rather than collusion with Russia during the campaign. But both sagas are interwoven with Russia: Trump himself has linked Comey's firing to Russia, and Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with the Russian ambassador during the transition.

Amy Harder 12 hours ago
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Column / Harder Line

The swamp’s tug-o-war over America’s ethanol mandate

American eagle with corn in its claws
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

A biofuels standard Congress passed more than a decade ago in the name of rural development, energy security and climate change has devolved into an arcane fight over market share that has nothing to do with those initial three goals.

Why it matters: The law — called the renewable fuel standard that requires refineries to blend biofuels into gasoline — is a textbook example of how regulations create winners, losers and unintended consequences.