Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pled guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI about two meetings with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak last December in the weeks leading up to President Trump’s inauguration.
For months, special counsel Robert Mueller has been probing Trump, administration officials, former campaign staff, and anyone associated with them to determine whether the president colluded with Russian officials to steal the election away from Hillary Clinton. Flynn’s admission to lying to the FBI about conversations with Kislyak and reported acceptance of a plea deal from Mueller’s office is the most significant development to date in the ongoing investigation.
As The New York Times reported, there is no evidence thus far that proves Trump colluded with Russian officials to sway the outcome of the election. Trump and his associates did contact foreign dignitaries before he took office. If that is a crime, Barack Obama is also guilty.
On July 24, 2008, then-senator Obama delivered a speech in Berlin, Germany four months before winning the presidential election, and six months before he was sworn into office. At the start of his remarks, Obama thanked Chancellor Angela Merkel and then-Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier for personally welcoming him earlier in the day. Presumably, during that welcome, Obama and the aforementioned leaders of Germany exchanged pleasantries, and they might have even had a conversation.
In 1972, then-presidential candidate George McGovern sent a campaign representative to negotiate with communist North Vietnamese leaders in an attempt to secure an early release of American prisoners. The negotiations, which consisted of two conversations in July and August leading up to the November election, proved to be ultimately unsuccessful, and the war between North Vietnam and the United States would go on for another three years.
During the Cold War, Sen. Ted Kennedy begged Soviet officials to intervene on behalf of the Democratic Party to defeat Ronald Reagan in the 1984 election. A KGB memo released in the 1990s revealed that Kennedy offered to visit Moscow and help the Soviets brush up their propaganda to deal with Reagan. In exchange, John F. Kennedy’s brother expected the USSR to intervene in the election against then-president Reagan’s re-election bid. You can read that memo in full here.