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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.

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The House voted 326-78 on Thursday to grant retired Gen. Lloyd Austin a waiver to lead the Pentagon, clearing the way for the Senate to confirm President Biden's nominee for defense secretary as early as this week.

Why it matters: Austin's nomination received pushback from some lawmakers, including Democrats, who cited a law that requires officers be out of the military for at least seven years before taking the job — a statute intended to reinforce the tradition of civilian control of the Pentagon.

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Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategy

Biden signs executive orders on Jan. 21. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday signed a slew of executive orders to address the coronavirus pandemic, including an interstate face mask mandate and an order to renew supplies of PPE, testing materials and vaccines through the Defense Production Act.

Why it matters: The stakes are highest for Biden’s vaccination effort. Several states cannot keep up with demand.