Who is Michael Flynn, why did he quit as national security adviser and what does the Mueller memo say?

Now it's emerged he has given "substantial assistance" to special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian meddling. Here's the lowdown.

Who is Michael Flynn and why did he resign?

Born in 1958 in Rhode Island, Flynn joined the army after graduating from his home state's university.

He flew through the ranks as a military intelligence officer where he served in conflict zones from the invasion of Grenada in 1981 to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

By 2011 he was a Lieutenant General and in 2012 he was nominated by Barack Obama as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Flynn retired from his role in 2014 amid rumours of clashes with DIA hierarchy over his management of the organisation.

Trump picked him as National Security Adviser following his election win in 2016, and took up the role January 2017.

He was forced to resign after just 24 days after it emerged he misled Vice-President Mike Pence over his contacts with Russia.

Donald Trump said he fired Mr Flynn, but insisted there was "nothing to hide".

It was alleged the retired general discussed sanctions with Moscow's ambassador Sergey Kislyak before taking up his White House role, leaving himself vulnerable to blackmail.

Reports later suggested that intelligence officials were concerned about Flynn even before his appointment.

Both British and US intelligence workers are said to have described him as “worrisome”, given his alleged “obsession” with Iran and ties to officials close to Vladimir Putin.

He had previously been pictured dining with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Why are the charges against Michael Flynn?

Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to FBI agents about his contacts with Russia.

Official documents outlining the charges say Flynn "did wilfully and knowingly make materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements” to investigators.

Flynn is lied to FBI investigators in January 207 when he said he had not discussed sanctions imposed by Barack Obama in a meeting with the Russian ambassador.

He also falsely said he did not recall the ambassador telling him that Moscow had chosen to moderate its response to the sanctions at his request.

It was reported Flynn had agreed to cooperate with the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Three other Trump campaign officials, former chairman Paul Manafort, his business associate Rick Gates, and a former foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos have also been charged in the probe.

What is in the Mueller memo and has Flynn got a plea deal?

US prosecutors have delayed Michael Flynn's case several times amid reports he was seeking a plea arrangement to lessen his sentence.

Flynn offered to testify last year in exchange for full immunity from prosecution, but Mueller refused the deal.

In December 2018 it was reported Mr Mueller was recommending Flynn be spared any time in jail in return for his co-operation.

Mueller said in a memo to a federal court that Flynn had provided "substantial assistance" to his investigation, a separate criminal probe and a third matter which was not revealed.

He sat for 19 interviews with the special counsel and other officials, and handed over "sensitive information".

Prosecutors made it clear Flynn was key to understanding “interactions between individuals in the presidential transition team and Russia” and his information helped map out the path of the inquiry.
The heavily redacted memo states: "His early cooperation was particularly valuable because he was one of the first people with long-term and firsthand insight regarding events and issues under investigation.
"Additionally, the defendant's decision to plead guilty and cooperate likely affected the decisions of related firsthand witnesses to be forthcoming with the (special counsel's office) and cooperate."
Flynn is due to be sentenced on December 18.
Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn charged with making false statement to FBI over links to Russia


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