Michael T. Flynn's guilty plea on Dec. 1 in the special counsel investigation might bring President Donald Trump closer to impeachment.
Flynn pleaded guilty to "willfully and knowingly making false, fictitious and fraudulent statements" to the FBI regarding his conversations with Russian ambassadors, Newsweek reports.
Flynn was directed by a senior member of the Trump transition team to make contact with Russian officials in December 2016, he admitted in his plea deal.
Specifically, Flynn admitted to speaking with the Russian ambassador at the time, Sergey Kislyak, in an attempt to influence the Russian response to the Obama administration's foreign policy toward Russia and Israel, The New York Times reports.
An impeachment process can begin only in the House of Representatives, which is Republican-controlled. And even if the House votes to impeach, it would still require a two-thirds vote of the Senate to actually remove the president from office.
Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton are the only two former presidents ever to be impeached, and neither was removed from office. Former President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before impeachment proceedings were initiated.
The 25th Amendment does give the vice president and a majority of sitting cabinet members the power to proclaim a president unfit to "discharge the powers and duties of his office," and immediately install the vice president as "acting president."
However, the president is allowed to dispute such an action, which would then bring the decision back to Congress, which would have to vote the president out.
Considering the obstacles that stand in the way of removing Trump from office, the likelihood of it happening is still remote, even with Flynn's plea.
There are also no signs that Trump will resign, as did Nixon. If he did, Vice President Mike Pence would assume the presidency, as Vice President Gerald Ford did in 1974.
The best chance at impeachment would be if Democrats succeed in taking back the House during the 2018 midterm elections.
In the meantime, however, Congressman Al Green of Texas is doubling down on his continuing efforts at impeachment.
"I refuse to stand idly by as a billionaire bigot does irreparable harm to my country," said Green, who promises to force a House vote on impeachment next week.
In a November speech, he denounced Trump as a "billionaire bigot who tolerates the KKK, but won't tolerate Islam. A billionaire bigot who tolerates anti-Semitism, racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, xenophobia, and homophobia."
In a New York Times op-ed, former United States attorney and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman wrote that "it's not an exaggeration to say that the events to which Mr. Flynn has agreed to testify will take their place in the history books alongside the Watergate and Iran-contra scandals."
He added: "Mr. Flynn's lies are secondary to the demonstration that the Trump administration was actively undermining American foreign policy before it took office. This will most likely prove the most abiding scandalous fact of the Mueller investigation. And it's one that nobody on either side of the aisle could possibly defend."
Sources: Newsweek, The New York Times / Featured Image: Michael Vadon/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Gage Skidmore/Flickr, Federal Bureau of Investigation via Wikimedia Commons