Flynn charged with lying to FBI, pleads guilty, reportedly admits Trump ordered him to contact Russians

Michael Flynn, former National Security Adviser to President Trump, was charged today with lying to the FBI about his contacts with agents of the Russian government. He is expected to enter entered a guilty plea in court Friday, thought to part of a deal with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller that observers expect will implicate others in Trump's circle and perhaps the president himself.

He was expected to plead guilty to one count of knowingly making "false, fictitious and fraudulent statements", reports said. Ahead of Friday morning's court session in Washington DC, two officials were quoted by Reuters news agency as saying he had turned himself in to the FBI.

The former aide is the most senior member of the Trump administration so far to have been indicted by the Mueller investigation.

In October, Mr Trump's former presidential campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was accused of conspiring to defraud the US in his dealings with Ukraine. It also emerged that another ex-aide, George Papadopoulos, had pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents.

Flynn was widely thought to be exposed to more serious charges, and the emerging consensus is that this looks like an extremely good deal for him, with a few months in Club Martha the likely sentence. In return, then, he must have spilled a lot of beans.

Update: Brian Ross, on ABC News, is reporting that "Flynn told the FBI that Trump ordered him to make contact with the Russians."