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Timeline of his rise, fall and guilty plea

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By NBC News

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn provided “substantial assistance” in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, according to court papers filed Dec. 4, 2018.

“The defendant provided firsthand information about the content and context of interactions between the transition team and Russian government officials,” prosecutors said in a sentencing memo filed by Mueller that offered few new details of the Russia probe.

The documents alleged that Flynn failed to disclose that he assisted Turkey’s efforts to remove Fethullah Gulen, a cleric whom Turkey’s president accused of orchestrating a failed coup, from the United States.

Reporting that Flynn met with Mueller’s team 19 times, the memo says a sentence that includes no prison time is “appropriate and warranted.”

Flynn resigned as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser 24 days into the new administration after it was revealed he discussed sanctions in a December 2016 phone call with the Russian ambassador — despite Flynn’s earlier denials. Trump took 18 days to boot Flynn.

Here are key events in Flynn’s case:

Dec. 4, 2018 — Mueller says in a sentencing memo that Flynn made multiple false statements to law enforcement but has provided “substantial assistance” to the investigation, including meeting 19 times with Mueller’s team and Justice Department lawyers.

Dec. 1, 2017 — Flynn pleads guilty in federal court to a charge of making false statements to the FBI about his communications with Russia.

Nov. 24, 2017Flynn’s legal team cuts ties with lawyers around Trump and his family.

Nov. 22, 2017 Bijan Kian, an Iranian-American who was a partner at the now-dissolved Flynn Intel Group, becomes a subject of Mueller’s investigation for his alleged role in the failure of Flynn’s former lobbying firm to disclose its work on behalf of foreign governments.

Nov. 10, 2017 Sources say federal investigators are examining whether Flynn met with senior Turkish officials just weeks before Trump’s inauguration about a potential quid pro quo in which Flynn would be paid to secretly carry out directives from Ankara while in the White House.

Nov. 5, 2017 Sources say federal investigators have gathered enough evidence to bring charges in their investigation of Flynn and his son as part of the probe into Russia’s intervention in the 2016 election.

Oct. 27, 2017Former CIA Director James Woolsey is interviewed by FBI agents working for Mueller about allegations that Flynn discussed the potentially illegal removal of a Turkish cleric from the U.S.

Michael Flynn, right, talks to reporters as he arrives with his son Michael G. Flynn at Trump Tower in New York on Nov. 17, 2016.Carolyn Kaster / AP file

Sept. 13, 2017 Flynn’s son Michael G. Flynn is a subject of the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election and possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

May 22, 2017 Flynn’s attorneys say that he won’t give the Senate Intelligence Committee documents requested under subpoena about Russian meddling in the election and that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

May 18, 2017 Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appoints former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.

May 11, 2017 Flynn is subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which requested documents that members said were relevant to its investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

May 9, 2017 Trump fires FBI Director James Comey after senior Justice Department officials conclude that he mishandled the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

May 8, 2017 Three former Obama administration officials tell NBC News that former President Barack Obama warned Trump against hiring Flynn as his national security adviser, saying he believed Flynn wasn’t suitable for such a high-level post.

April 1, 2017 The Senate Intelligence Committee turns down the request by Flynn’s attorney for a grant of immunity in exchange for his testimony.

March 16, 2017 Documents released by Democrats on the House Oversight Committee show that Flynn was paid more than $45,000, plus perks, by the state-sponsored Russian television network RT to speak at its 10th-anniversary gala in December 2015.

March 9, 2017 — Nearly a month after his firing, Flynn retroactively registers with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for $530,000 worth of lobbying that might have helped the Turkish government before Election Day.

Feb. 14, 2017 — White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer says Trump asked Flynn to resign because of an erosion of trust — not because any laws were broken.

Feb. 13, 2017 — Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway tells NBC News that Flynn has the full confidence of the president. Moments later, Spicer says Trump is evaluating the situation. Hours after that, Flynn resigns, saying he “inadvertently briefed Vice President-elect Mike Pence and others with incomplete information regarding his phone calls with the Russian ambassador.

Feb. 10, 2017 — A spokesperson tells NBC News that Flynn “can’t be 100 percent sure” but doesn’t remember talking about sanctions. Trump denies knowledge of the reports that Flynn and the Russian talked sanctions. “I don’t know about it. I haven’t seen it. What report is that?” he tells reporters. Also that day, Flynn speaks by phone to Pence, reportedly to apologize.

Feb. 9, 2017 — The Washington Post reports that Flynn, according to current and former U.S. officials, did discuss sanctions with the Russian ambassador; officials confirm the content of the discussion to NBC News. This day is the first time that Pence is informed of the Justice Department’s warning about Flynn’s call — two weeks after Trump was told.

Jan. 30, 2017 — Trump fires Yates, saying she’s being axed for refusing to defend his executive order temporarily banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Sally Yates in June 2016.J. David Ake / AP

Jan. 26, 2017Yates tells White House Counsel Donald McGahn what she knows about the call, according to the White House. Trump was told immediately, Spicer says, and the White House counsel launched an “exhaustive” review that included questioning of Flynn.

Jan. 23, 2017 — At Spicer’s first White House briefing, he says Flynn reassured him the night before that Flynn’s call with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak call didn’t involve sanctions. The subject, Spicer says, was a plane crash over the holiday, Christmas greetings, a potential conference in Syria on ISIS and the scheduling of a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Jan. 20 or 21, 2017The FBI questions Flynn about his call to the ambassador as part of the bureau’s broader investigation into Russia, according to a senior U.S. official.

Jan. 20, 2017Trump is inaugurated.

Jan. 19, 2017 — Obama administration officials — National Intelligence Director James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and Acting Attorney General Sally Yates — discuss the situation and want to warn the Trump team that Flynn has misled Spicer and Pence. Comey vetoes that, saying it would compromise his ongoing investigation.

Vice President Mike Pence greets National Security Adviser Michael Flynn on Feb. 10, 2017.Joshua Roberts / Reuters

Jan. 15, 2017Vice President Mike Pence says on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that sanctions weren’t discussed: “It was strictly coincidental that they had a conversation. They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia.”

Jan. 13, 2017 — Spicer says that Flynn didn’t discuss sanctions with the ambassador and that the purpose of the call was to schedule a time for Trump and Putin to speak post-inauguration.

Jan. 12, 2017 — Washington Post columnist David Ignatius first reports the contact between Flynn and Kislyak, raising questions about whether sanctions were discussed.

Former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.Cliff Owen / AP file

Jan. 11, 2017 — Trump denies that members of his staff had contact with Russia before the election during the campaign.

Sometime after Dec. 30, 2016 — The FBI reviews intercepted communications and finds the Flynn-Kislyak conversation. The matter gets folded into the FBI’s probe into Russian election-related hacking and related issues.

Dec. 30, 2016Putin says he won’t retaliate for the sanctions and invites children from the U.S. Embassy to a Christmas party. Trump praises Putin in a tweet.

Dec. 29, 2016 — The Obama administration unveils sanctions against Russia for election-related hacking, expelling diplomats and shutting down two compounds. The same day, Flynn speaks to Kislyak by phone.

Nov. 18, 2016 — President-elect Trump names Flynn his national security adviser.

June 2016 — Russian hackers are identified as the culprits behind the hacking of Democratic institutions and figures; U.S. officials will later say that Putin was involved and that the goal was to meddle with the electoral process.

December 2015 — Flynn takes a paid trip to Russia and appears at a gala for RT, the state-run TV station, where he dines with Putin.

Summer 2015 — Flynn first meets Trump, according to an interview he gave to The Washington Post.



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Puerto Rican officials warn against diverting recovery funds for a wall

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By Patricia Guadalupe

WASHINGTON — María Meléndez, the mayor of Ponce, Puerto Rico’s second-largest city, came to Washington this week on a mission to ensure that federal aid already allocated for hurricane recovery is finally delivered to her city and others on the island.

Meléndez’s visit to talk about local governance during natural disasters and crisis management came a day before Trump declared a national emergency to secure funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall that he dangled as a presidential campaign promise.

After multiple reports surfaced saying that funds allocated for recovery efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria could be used to finance the wall, Trump’s action has heightened concerns among Puerto Rican officials who have vowed to fight such a move.

“If the president intends to use his emergency powers to take funds from Puerto Rico and other states, I’ll see him in court,” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said on Twitter early Friday morning. “Our island urgently needs the disbursement of the money allocated to direct and reconstruction.”

Hours later, a senior administration official said that taking any disaster relief funds away from Puerto Rico and Texas was not part of the plan, adding that the $8 billion they currently plan to use for the wall should be sufficient.

While much attention has been paid to the capital city of San Juan and its recuperation efforts, other island cities and towns have been often overlooked and have the added burden of lacking the resources and personnel to help in a recovery.

More than 400 buildings in Ponce were damaged during Hurricane Maria in 2017, damage is estimated at more than $500 million, and the cost of reconstruction is estimated to be at least $200 million.

“We are used to hurricanes, but nothing like what happened with Hurricane Maria. It was total devastation and we still need to reconstruct the island. It is a long recovery. We need those funds,” Meléndez, known as Mayita, told NBC News after participating in a forum Thursday at New York University’s Washington Center.



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Brexit warning: No-deal vegetable tariffs could cause 12,400 EXTRA deaths – shock study

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A STUDY has claimed 12,400 people could die as a result of Britain leaving the European Union without a deal.

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You won’t believe what Trump just said: 6 eye-popping moments

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By Dareh Gregorian

He praised China for executing drug dealers, called his administration’s crime statistics lies and broke out into a near rap while predicting he’d be sued over his declaring a national emergency to get his border wall built.

Here are some of the most eye-opening moments from President Donald Trump’s teleprompter-free emergency declaration announcement-turned-Rose Garden press conference:

1. NATIONAL EMERGENCY RAP

After declaring that he was using his national emergency powers to build his wall on the southern border, Trump broke out into a sing-songy rap about what he expected to happen next, which would include appeals to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled against his travel ban in 2017.

“We will have a national emergency, and we will then be sued, and they will sue us in the Ninth Circuit, even though it shouldn’t be there and we’ll possibly get a bad ruling and then we’ll get another bad ruling and then we’ll end up the Supreme Court, and then hopefully we’ll get a fair shake we’ll and we’ll win in the supreme court, just like the ban. They sued us in the Ninth Circuit and then we lost . . .”

2. KILLING DRUG DEALERS

The president expressed his admiration for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s approach on drug crimes. He recounted a conversation with Xi, where he said, “You have 1.4 billion people. What do you mean you have no drug problem. Why?” He then did an impression of Xi saying, “Death penalty. We give death penalty to people who sell drugs. End of problem.”

“What do we do? We set up blue-ribbon committees, lovely men and women they sit around a table, eat they dine, and they waste a lot of time,” Trump said.

“They’re criminal list, a drug dealer gets a thing called the death penalty. Our criminal list a drug dealer gets a thing called how about a fine,” he complained. In December, Trump signed a criminal justice reform act that reduced mandatory penalties for some drug offenses.

He said Xi was adding fentanyl to his country’s “criminal list” thanks to ongoing trade negotiations. The “penalty is death. That’s frankly one of the things I’m most excited about in our trade deal,” Trump said.

3. DRUGS DON’T GO THROUGH PORTS OF ENTRY

The president said the wall was necessary to stop the flow of illegal drugs from the Mexico, saying “the big drug loads don’t go through ports of entry.”

He was asked later about the claim, which contradicts statistics from his own administration. A 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment by the DEA, Mexican drug cartels “transport the bulk of their drugs over the Southwest border through ports of entry (POEs) using passenger vehicles or tractor trailers.”

“I get my numbers from a lot of sources, like Homeland Security, primarily. And the numbers that I have from Homeland Security are a disaster,” he said.

4. NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

Trump said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize for getting North Korea to stop flying “rocket ships” over Japan.

“In fact, I think I can say this, Prime Minister Abe of Japan gave me the most beautiful copy of a letter that he sent to the people who give out a thing called the Nobel Prize. He said I have nominated you, respectfully, on behalf of Japan. I am asking them to give you the Nobel Peace Prize. I said, ‘Thank you,'” he said.

“We do a lot of good work. This administration does a tremendous job and we don’t get credit for it. So Prime Minister Abe gave me – I mean it’s the most beautiful five page letter, Nobel Prize, he sent it to them. You know why? Because he had rocket ships and he had missiles flying over Japan, and they had alarms going off — you know that. Now all of the sudden they feel good, they feel safe. I did that.”

5. ‘DON’T NEED THE MILITARY’

On the benefits of the wall, Trump said, “One of the things we’d save tremendous, just a tremendous amount on, would be sending the military. If we had a wall we don’t need the military, because we’d have a wall! So I’m gonna be signing a national emergency, and it’s been signed many times before.”

6. HANNITY ‘DOESN’T DECIDE POLICY’

Trump insisted conservative commentators don’t decide policy for him, pushing back against reports that he shut down the government at their behest. But he went on to praise several of his favorites.

“Sean Hannity has been a terrific, terrific supporter of what I do, not of me,” Trump said of the Fox News personality he reportedly speaks to often. “If I changed my views, he wouldn’t be with me,” the president insisted.

Fox News Channel and radio talk show host Sean Hannity, left, interviews President Donald Trump before a campaign rally at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Sept. 20, 2018.Ethan Miller / Getty Images file

“Rush Limbaugh, I think he is a great guy,” he said. “He can speak for three hours without a phone call. Try doing that sometime. . .I mean this guy is unbelievable.” He also singled out Fox personalities Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, before talking about Ann Coulter.

Coulter wrote a book called “In Trump We Trust” before turning on him for his failure to build the wall.

“Probably, if I did speak to her, she would be very nice, but I just don’t have time to speak to her,” he said. But for now, said the president who’s come under fire for making Native American cracks about Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Coulter “is off the reservation.”

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