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UPDATE: AP Sources Link KT McFarland To Flynn Papers

Top Democrats say it would be unacceptable for Trump to try to influence any investigations, including the probes their committees are conducting

THE LATEST on the investigations into Trump campaign associates and Russian election interference (all times local):

5:45 p.m.

Former Deputy National Security Adviser KT McFarland is an unnamed senior official referred to in the court papers filed in the Michael Flynn case.

She was involved in a discussion with Flynn about what he would say to Russian government officials in response to U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia last year.

That’s according to two former officials on President Donald Trump’s transition team. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to public discuss the matter.

McFarland is identified in court papers filed Friday as a “senior transition” official. Papers filed by special counsel Robert Mueller show Flynn contacted McFarland on Dec. 29, 2016, to discuss what, if anything, he would communicate to the Russians about the sanctions. Flynn admitted Friday to lying to the FBI about the contents of that conversation.

McFarland is awaiting Senate confirmation as ambassador to Singapore.

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5:25 p.m.

A member of President Donald Trump’s transition team says Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is the “very senior transition official” referenced in court papers filed in the Michael Flynn case.

The transition team official who confirmed the person as Kushner spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, since Kushner’s name was not publicly revealed.

According to court papers filed Friday in connection with a guilty plea of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, the “very senior transition official” directed Flynn to contact foreign governments, including Russia, about a U.N. resolution regarding Israeli settlements.

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4:05 p.m.

Friday’s guilty plea represents a further fall for retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who once was head of the Defense Intelligence Agency and was a vocal surrogate for Donald Trump on the president campaign trail.

He was especially known for vigorously leading Trump rallies in “Lock her up” chants regarding Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

No sentence has yet been set for Flynn, pending his continuing cooperation with the special counsel investigation of possible coordination between the campaign and Russia last year.

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2:05 p.m.

Fired FBI Director James Comey has tweeted a Bible passage on the same morning that former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents.

A tweet on Comey’s Twitter account Friday morning, quoting the Old Testament book of Amos, said: “But justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

Comey was fired in May by President Donald Trump, a move that helped lead to the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel.

Comey has said Trump asked him during a private Oval Office meeting in February if he could see his way to letting the Flynn investigation go. The White House has denied that that conversation took place as Comey has said.

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2 p.m.

After pleading guilty to a felony in a federal courthouse, former national security adviser Michael Flynn was seen visiting his son in Virginia.

Flynn arrived Friday at Michael Flynn Jr.’s house, dressed casually and wearing sunglasses. He was greeted at the door by his son carrying a child.

Earlier, the retired Army lieutenant general pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI while serving in the administration about contacts with the Russian ambassador.

In a statement released Friday, Flynn says he’s cooperating with an investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. That investigation is examining potential contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Flynn also says he’s been subjected to false accusations of treason.

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1:40 p.m.

The top Democrats on the Senate and House intelligence committees are warning President Donald Trump against trying to influence investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia and Congressman Adam Schiff of California issued statements Friday, after former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

Warner and Schiff say it would be unacceptable for Trump to try to influence any investigations, including the probes their committees are conducting.

Warner refers to an “alarming pattern” by Trump, including the president’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey. Schiff speculated that Flynn’s plea may prompt the White House and its allies to try to curtail congressional investigations or try to end Mueller’s probe prematurely. Schiff says Congress “must make clear” that would be unacceptable.

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12:30 p.m.

The White House has cancelled a scheduled opportunity for reporters to question President Donald Trump about former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s guilty plea.

The public White House schedule had said that reporters would be allowed to document part of Trump’s meeting with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.

During these media events, called “pool sprays,” reporters usually pepper the president with questions. Trump often answers, using opportunity to deliver his message directly to voters.

Reporters had been lined up outside the Oval Office, waiting to enter the room, when White House staffers marched them back into the press room.

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters then told them the media event would not happen.

Earlier, Trump ignored shouted questions about Flynn as he greeted the prime minister at the door.

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12:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump is not answering questions about former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s guilty plea to lying to the FBI.

Trump did not respond to shouted questions Friday morning as he welcomed Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Serraj to the White House. He waved and flashed a thumbs up.

The Libyan leader arrived Friday morning. The White House has said they will discuss reaffirming U.S. support for Libya’s unity government and help stabilizing the country.

White House lawyer Ty Cobb says nothing about Flynn’s guilty plea “implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn.” Cobb pointedly noted that Flynn worked in the White House for only 25 days.

Trump has previously referred to Flynn as a “wonderful man.”

11:50 a.m.

A White House lawyer says that nothing about former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s guilty plea “implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn.”

Lawyer Ty Cobb also points out that Flynn worked in the White House for only 25 days and that he was a “former Obama administration official.”

Cobb put out a statement Friday after Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to making false statements to the FBI. As part of a plea deal, Flynn has admitted that a senior member of the Trump transition team directed him to make contact with Russian officials in December 2016.

Cobb said the “false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year.”

Trump has previously referred to Flynn as a “wonderful man.”

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11:30 a.m.

As part of a plea deal, former national security adviser Michael Flynn has admitted that a senior member of the Trump transition team directed him to make contact with Russian officials in December 2016.

Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to making false statements to the FBI, becoming the first official who worked in the Trump White House to make a guilty plea so far in a wide-ranging investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

The government did not reveal the identity of the senior transition official.

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11:15 a.m.

A federal judge says former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn is cooperating with the government in the wide-ranging investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.

U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras said during Flynn’s plea hearing that the government will decide how effectively Flynn is cooperating as part of a plea agreement.

Flynn didn’t speak in court, other than to say he would plead guilty.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is examining possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

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11:12 a.m.

Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian diplomat.

It’s the first plea by any of the four former advisers to President Donald Trump charged so far in the wide-ranging investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Flynn has been under investigation for a wide range of allegations, including his lobbying work on behalf of Turkey, but the fact that he was charged only with a single count of making false statements suggests he is cooperating with Mueller’s investigation in exchange for leniency.

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10:45 a.m.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has arrived at the U.S. federal courthouse in Washington. He’s scheduled to plead guilty Friday to making false statements to the FBI.

Court documents show Flynn will admit to lying about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the United States during the transition period before Trump’s inauguration. Flynn was an early and vocal supporter on the campaign trail of President Donald Trump whose business dealings and foreign interactions made him a central focus of Mueller’s investigation.

The expected guilty plea makes the retired Army lieutenant general the first person to have actually worked in the Trump White House to face formal charges in the investigation, which is examining possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

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National Security Adviser Michael Flynn at the White House on Wednesday. Flynn said the administration is putting Iran “on notice.”

The special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has charged retired lieutenant general and former national security adviser Michael Flynn with making false statements to the FBI, according to a criminal information filed by the special counsel. Flynn is expected in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Friday morning.

Flynn resigned from his White House post under pressure in February, after allegations that he discussed sanctions with the former Russian ambassador, then misled Vice President Pence about the conversations.

“Throughout my over thirty three years of honorable military service, and my tenure as the National Security Advisor, I have always performed my duties with the utmost of integrity and honesty to those I have served, to include the President of the United States,” Flynn wrote in his resignation letter.

After Flynn’s departure, he went out of his way to express loyalty to the president and he told acquaintances he was still in touch with Trump, who urged him to “stay strong,” according to a Yahoo News report.

Flynn also took the step of filing documents with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, for his lucrative lobbying work on behalf of Turkey in 2016, a period that overlapped with the presidential campaign. Criminal enforcement of the FARA has been spotty, with only seven cases since 1966.

But failure to register under the law formed the basis of criminal charges against Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, and Manafort’s deputy Richard Gates in late October.

Aside from his lobbying work, Flynn had also come under investigators’ scrutiny for allegedly making contradictory statements to FBI investigators about his discussions with the Russian ambassador.

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, an Obama administration holdover, testified under oath on Capitol Hill that she had warned the White House counselabout Flynn before her firing in January, but that he seemed to play down the significance of her warning.

As investigations into Russian election interference began to intensify this year, Flynn offered to testify to congressional committees — if he could receive immunity in exchange for his remarks. “General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit,” his lawyer Robert Kelner said at the time.

More recently, Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn, who worked alongside his father at the Flynn Intel Group, has come under scrutiny from congressional investigators and the special counsel.

Several veteran lawyers on the special counsel team have a history of approaching lower-level figures, including relatives of their targets, to build bigger cases against corporate executives or mob figures.

After prosecutors unveiled charges against Manafort and Gates Oct. 30, the White House distanced itself from them, pointing out the bulk of their alleged offenses predated the presidential campaign.

But putting distance between Trump and Flynn may be more of a challenge, as the president repeatedly praised Flynn for his service and loyalty, even after he left the White House this year.

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