Former Trump campaign official and national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI about repeated contact with Russian officials before, during, and after the Trump campaign. Notably, the plea suggests that Flynn is cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian intervention in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin.
In federal court Friday, Flynn admitted to asking former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak not to retaliate against sanctions imposed by the Obama administration. His contact with Russian officials, Flynn said, was all under the direction of a ” very senior official” on the Trump transition team.
On Friday afternoon, several news outlets, including the Washington Post and CNN, reported that the “very senior” official Flynn was referring to was presidential adviser and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
“Former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and court records and people familiar with the contacts indicated he was acting in consultation with senior Trump transition officials, including President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, in his dealings with the diplomat,” the Post reported Friday afternoon.
Not long after, CNN reported the same.
“Jared Kushner is the ‘very senior member’ of President Donald Trump’s transition team who directed incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn to contact the Russian ambassador to the United States and other countries about a UN Security Council vote on Israeli settlements, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN,” the network’s story published Friday afternoon said.
NBC and other well-sourced outlets reported the same: Kushner directed Flynn to contact Russian officials. But Fox is reporting a different story.
On Friday afternoon, Fox reported that it was KT McFarland who directed Flynn to contact Kislyak about the sanctions last winter from Mar-a-Lago. McFarland was nominated to be the U.S. ambassador to Singapore in May. Reporter John Roberts said a single source — but a very, very knowledgeable one, he said — had confirmed it was McFarland.
But in the report, Roberts almost immediately gives away the reason that the senior official being McFarland is highly doubtful: she was his deputy. Flynn directed her, not vice-versa. Additionally, it’s unlikely Mueller would cut a deal with Flynn just to get to McFarland.
Additionally, last week, several outlets reported that Kushner may have kept documents from congressional investigators. Last Friday, the New York Times reported Kushner had been forwarded an email chain during the campaign from someone looking to set up a meeting between the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin. Some members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are accusing Kushner of keeping those emails from investigators, along with other potentially incriminating documents.