What has happened so far ?
Former foreign policy adviser George Papadopolous pleaded guilty to perjury over his contacts with Russians connected with the Kremlin, and the president's former campaign director Paul Manafort and another aide face charges of fund laundering.
When will the inquiry come to an end ?
The investigations have an open timeline.
Flynn would offer a critical insight into the workings of the Trump campaign and the chaotic start of the administration. James Comey, the FBI director fired by Trump in May, has claimed the president urged him to aim an investigation into Flynnduring a private Oval Office meeting in February.
Matthew Miller, a partner at the strategic advisory firm Vianovo and former public affairs director at the justice department, said:” I don't think we know yet whether he's cooperating. He's almost certainly enter into negotiations with Mueller, though. There would be no other reason for the lawyers to stop communicating .”
As a longtime campaign aide who travelled with Trump, Flynn could offer evidence as to whether any illegal contacts took place and whether the candidate himself was aware of them, Miller added, though he said:” But we have not insured any evidence yet that the president knew about it .”
Perhaps more critically, Miller said,” Flynn is at the centre of the blockage of justice piece of the investigation, which impacts on the president directly.
” If you go back to Watergate, it was really John Dean[ former Nixon White House counseling] deciding to cooperate with prosecutors that resulted directly to implicating the president himself. You need a superstar witness in these cases and Michael Flynn would certainly be that .”
Flynn- who sat with Vladimir Putin at a 2015 event in Moscow- served 24 days as Trump's national security consultant but was forced to resign after it was discovered he had misrepresented his contacts with the Russian ambassador to Vice-President Mike Pence.
He was interviewed by the FBI in January about his communications with the diplomat, Sergey Kislyak. The deputy us attorney general at the time, Sally Yates, soon advised White House officials that their public affirmations that Flynn had not discussed sanctions with Kislyak were incorrect and that Flynn was therefore in a compromised position.
In addition, Mueller has been investigating the retired general's role in $530,000 worth of lobbying run his now defunct firm performed for a Turkish tycoon during the final months of the 2016 campaign. The lobbying campaign sought to gather derogatory information on Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric and green-card holder living in Pennsylvania. It was also reported this month that Flynn was being investigated considering an alleged plot to kidnap Gulen and deliver him to Turkey.
Trump's first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, denied on Friday that the latest development brought Trump himself closer to a day of reckoning.
” This is a narrative that the mainstream media wants to perpetuate the past year ,” he told Fox News .” The bottom line is, if Michael Flynn did something wrong by not disclosing the relationships he had with Turkey and other governments, then he should be held accountable for that .”
Lewandowski added:” There is no liability to the president, because he didn't collude, collaborate, or coordinate with Russia in any way or form .”
FBI agents have also been scrutinising Flynn's business partner, Bijan Kian, who served on Trump's presidential transition, and his son, Michael Flynn Jr, who worked for his father as part of the lobbying campaign. Flynn Jr was a near constant presence during the campaign and presidential transition period.
On Friday, Flynn Jr tweeted an image of the actor Tracy Morgan with the caption:” Everybody calm down .” He also took a swipe at MSNBC for replaying an old interview in which his father pointedly refused to criticise Putin and posted a quote attributed to George Earle Buckle, a 19 th-century editor of Britain's Times newspaper:” In practical life the wisest and soundest people avoid supposition .”
The White House has claimed Flynn does not have incriminating information to provide about Trump. Ty Cobb, a White House lawyer, told the New York Times last month that Trump” likes Gen Flynn personally, but understands that they have their own path with the special counsel. I think he would be sad for them, as a friend and a former colleague, if the process results in penalty or indictments. But to the extent that that happens, that's beyond his control .”
Along with Mueller, two congressional committees are analyse links between the Trump campaign and Russia. A June 2016 meeting that Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner and others held in Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer is under scrutiny. It also recently emerged that Trump Jr was messaging with WikiLeaks, which leaked emails from top Democratic officers during the campaign.
Read more: www.theguardian.com