CHICAGO (CBS) — President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. And he’s reportedly ready to testify that senior Trump Administration campaign officials instructed him to talk to the Russians.
Flynn’s guilty plea leaves plenty of questions unanswered. Specifically, what’s next in the Russia investigation?READ MORE: Dolton Mayoral Candidate Giving Cash Prizes At Fundraiser After Previous Allegations Of Buying Votes
For some of those answers, CBS 2 spoke to CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent and “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson.
CBS 2: What does Michael Flynn’s agreement to cooperate with the special council indicate about the next steps in this probe?
Dickerson: Well, we don’t know exactly. What we know is that whatever the next steps are, the special council would have a very intimate member of the Trump inner-circle, both from the campaign and then from the early parts of the Administration, and a person who’s really central to whatever the relationship was between the Russian government and the Trump campaign/Trump Administration — so, it’s somebody who has the ability to unlock a lock of information for the special council.
CBS 2: Earlier this year, you interviewed Vice President Mike Pence on “Face the Nation,” and Pence said to you that Flynn did not have discussions with Russian officials. Given what we’ve learned today about the probe, what does that say to you about the truthfulness of those statement that he made on “Face the Nation?”READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Mostly Sunny With Seasonable Temperatures
Dickerson: This is kind of a two chapter story. The first is that the Vice President said that on “Face the Nation” and that’s what got Flynn, essentially, in trouble. The Vice President said he was speaking based on everything that Flynn had told him. The problem is that Flynn has now told the FBI, and has plead and it was part of the plea agreement, that he had conversations with the Russian ambassador at the instruction of the transition team…
… He spoke to the transition team — which had senior officials on that transition team, which would include the Vice President, he was heading the transition team — had conversations before he called the Russian ambassador about what he was supposed to talk about, and then had conversations after he spoke to the Russian ambassador about what he was supposed to talk about. So, the question that raises is whether the Vice President, who is the head of that transition team, and who in the plea document it describes a very senior official in the transition operation — and senior officials, in fact — how he could have not known about it since he was intimately involved in the transition and there were so many of these phone calls from Michael Flynn to the transition team.