Twitter went into overdrive on Friday after President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to charges that he lied to the FBI during a January 2017 interview.
According to the Associated Press, court documents show that Flynn will admit to making false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. while Trump was president-elect. The move makes Flynn the first Trump White House official to plead guilty so far in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.
The Associated Press, The Washington Post and The Hill all reported that prosecutors indicated in court that Flynn was acting under instructions from at least one senior Trump transition official while dealing with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
According to the Post, prosecutor Brandon L. Van Grack said in court that “a very senior member of the transition team directed” Flynn to get in touch with Kislyak at one point. Flynn also allegedly “called a senior official of the Trump team at Mar-a-Lago” in regards to a United Nations resolution that Flynn had discussed with Kislyak.
Flynn released a statement obtained by PEOPLE Friday saying he’s cooperating with Mueller’s office because it’s in the “best interests of my family and of our country.”
“After over 33 years of military service to our country, including nearly five years in combat away from my family, and then my decision to continue to serve the United States, it has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of “treason” and other outrageous acts. Such false accusations are contrary to everything I have ever done and stood for. But I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were 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,” the statement read in full.
White House lawyer Ty Cobb also responded to Flynn’s guilty plea, stating in part, per the Washington Post, that “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.”
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Here’s how people are reacting on Twitter.
Former FBI Director James Comey — who was fired by Trump in May, days after reportedly seeking resources for a Russia investigation — tweeted a biblical quote about justice.
U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters and others responded with chants of “lock him up,” a reference to Trump’s oft-repeated promise to put 2016 rival Hillary Clinton behind bars over her use of a private email server while secretary of state.
Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill, meanwhile, went with an understated “Um.”
And the hashtag #MuellerTime was trending as many celebrated what they saw as a harbinger of Trump’s own potential downfall.
Elsewhere on Twitter, University of New Hampshire professor and attorney Seth Abramson warned that the celebrations may be premature: “It’s too early to know *all* the dominoes that will fall as a result of what just happened with Michael Flynn,” he said.
“But,” he added, “We know (a) there will be international effects and consequences, and (b) the Trump presidency (including *all* his policy initiatives) is now gravely imperiled.”