Michael Flynn takes plea deal with special counsel

President Trump's lawyer issued a formal statement saying the guilty plea only implicates Flynn.
5:41 | 12/02/17

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Transcript for Michael Flynn takes plea deal with special counsel
There was swift reaction to this news from the white house although not from the president himself. This is important to note an attorney for the president argues the plea only implicates Flynn, not anyone else. ABC's David Wright is at the white house now. David, good morning. Reporter: Good morning, Adrienne and Dan. The white house is doing its best to downplay the significance of all this, but it's got to be unsettling not least because Flynn continues to cooperate with the special counsel and the worry here is that he may be implicating others. Officially it's business as usual here. The president has so far ignored any and all questions. Mr. President, any comment on Michael Flynn being indicted, sir? Can you comment Michael Flynn being indicted? Reporter: On Twitter he is studiously avoiding the whole subject of Russia. Instead president trump left it to his lawyer to issue a formal statement. Ty Cobb downplayed general Flynn's role in the administration describing the former national security adviser as someone who served the trump white house for 25 days. Even referring to him as a form former Obama administration official. Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn, he said. The next president of the United States right here. Reporter: But Flynn was one of trump'sp earliest allies on the campaign trail even after the president fired Flynn he continued to praise him. Mike Flynn is a fine person. And I asked for his resignation. He respectfully gave it. Reporter: On capitol hill, Democrats are gloating. Let me be the first to congratulate president pence, tweeted one California Democrat. And from congresswoman Maxine water, lock him occupy. I'm going to hold off until I get more facts. Reporter: Republicans are taking a wait and see approach. So far all of the charges against guilty pleas haven't been about colluding to the Russians. Nobody pled guilty saying I was working with the Russians. Reporter: Today the president heads home to New York City for some Republican fund-raisers, the white house determined not to let this issue derail them. Adrienne and Dan. David Wright at the white house, thank you. So much to discuss here so let's bring in ABC's supreme court contributor Kate show, a former lawyer for the Obama white house. Good morning. What we heard from senator Lindsey graham, he points out correctly none of the charges are guilty pleas so far in Robert Mueller's investigation have to do with the core question that Mueller was assigned to look at which is did the trump campaign collude with the Russians to meddle in the election so as you look at the investigation thus far is there any there? It's hard to know at this point. In term of Michael Flynn's plea, yes, it was for lying to the FBI but what was it lying about, contacts with Russia, right so it's not far afield from kind of the core question that Mueller was sent to investigate. And I think it opens up a couple of other questions so, one, what were the sort of full extent of the contacts between the campaign and Russia and, two, why did Michael Flynn feel the need to lie about it? Under this plea agreement Flynn is to give substantial assistance to Mueller in trying to get to the bottom of those question. I think a lot of people are asking that exact question, why did he feel the need to lie but who else could be implicated now that Flynn has taken the plea deal? So, you know, typically when you have this kind of agreement leniency for cooperation there is he one or more further up the food chain that the prosecutor has in mind so we've heard about the possibility of Jared Kushner. Who else is further up, a pretty short list. Could involve the vice president or the president, you know, themselves potentially the attorney general so those are the sorts of people you could at least imagine. We really don't know at this point but might be, you know, facing some additional exposure after yesterday. Kate, we appreciate you joining us today. Thank you. Thank you. Let's bring in now ABC news political analyst Matthew dowd in Austin this morning. Matt, good morning to you. Very quickly here in your view how much political peril does this Flynn story present for Donald Trump? Well, we now officially have a scandal at the steps of the white house that we didn't have before because Michael Flynn was actually working at the white house all of this was going on and when he lied to the FBI. The rain falls on the just and the unjust when you have scandals like this. And so it doesn't matter at this point in the public's mind whether or not there was collusion. We're in the first stages and chapters of this book. It will affect everybody at the white house especially the president of the United States who already starts with a trust deficit with the American public. We could continue to talk about this much, much longer but let's talk about the tax bill. If it does pass, how big a win is this for the president and how much could it help Republicans in the 2018 midterms? Well, it's a legislative victory but there is a difference between a legislative victory and political victory and in this case this is a very unpopular bill. All the polls show it. The least popular tax bill in the history of polling when they've been doing it. An unpopular bill pushed by an unpopular president passed by an unpopular congress. That is not the recipe for help in a 2018 general election when the Republicans were already at a disadvantage so I think, yes, legislative victory. This is not going to help the Republicans politically at all. All right. Matthew dowd reporting for us from Austin, Texas. Thank you so much for being with

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