Lawmakers around New England are reacting to the Trump administration's former national security adviser pleading guilty to lying to the FBI amid an ongoing and wide-ranging special counsel investigation.
Michael Flynn, who was ousted in February for misleading the White House about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador, has been under investigation for a wide range of allegations, including his lobbying work for the country of Turkey.
"This confession is damning," Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton, a Democrat, said, adding it was critical to protect special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation because it "is bigger than partisan politics."
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Calling the widening circle of Trump administration and campaign ensnared in the Russia investigation a "slimy orbit," outgoing New Hampshire Rep. Carol Shea-Porter said Flynn's guilty plea was a "very serious development in the Mueller investigation."
"Now we know why President Trump pressed former FBI Director James Comey to drop his investigation of Flynn and then fired Comey when he refused: an attempted obstruction of justice."
Meanwhile, Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal described Flynn's charge as a "bombshell" that connects him to Russia.
"Make no mistake, #Flynn's betrayal of national security is an enduring black mark on our country's history and a stunning violation of his oath of office," Blumenthal tweeted.
Maine Democratic Congresswoman Chellie Pingree said she's reissuing a call for an independent investigation into President Donald Trump's ties to Russia, along with calling on him to release his tax returns.
"President Trump has done everything he can to undermine Mr. Mueller's investigation in the eyes of the public and misled Americans about the severity of Russia's influence over his White House," she said in a statement.
Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy III said Friday's development shows Americans deserve to know why Flynn lied about his contact with Russians.
"Continue interference & political pressure from President must end," he tweeted.
New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen commended Mueller's ongoing investigation in a statement.
"Our judiciary and democratic institutions remain strong, even in the face of a multi-pronged Kremlin attack during the 2016 presidential election," she said.
Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline called Flynn's guilty plea "incredibly serious" and added that no matter what Trump will say about the investigation, "it's clear that Robert Mueller is doing his job."
Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed called for Trump to answer questions under oath.
"It is disturbing that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin seem to be birds of a feather in terms of refusing to acknowledge Russian interference in our 2016 presidential election," he said in a statement. "The American people deserve to know why. They deserve the facts. Today's plea deal is further proof that this is not a 'witch hunt.' It is an evolving and much-needed criminal investigation."
Maine's Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican, said in a statement that Flynn's guilty plea shows responsibility.
"I trust the American justice system will continue its impartial investigation to the end," he said.
Flynn's guilty plea comes after three other Trump campaign officials were charged in October. Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates pleaded not guilty, while former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his own foreign contacts.
Flynn was interviewed by the FBI four days after Trump's presidential inauguration in January about whether he had discussed sanctions against Russia with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.