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Former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn has hired a new lawyer, Sidney Powell, who once urged him to withdraw his guilty plea to a charge filed in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.
News of Powell's hiring comes days after Flynn's former attorneys — Robert Kelner and Stephen Anthony of Covington & Burling — told Washington federal Judge Emmet Sullivan they were withdrawing as his counsel. The lawyers wrote that Flynn had told them he "has already retained new counsel for this matter" when he fired them.
Powell told The Hill that Flynn would continue to cooperate with the government as part of his plea agreement. Yet the retired Army lieutenant general's decision to swap out his legal representation with someone pro-Trump and hostile to Mueller also comes amid growing calls from right-wing figures to withdraw his plea.
After news broke last Thursday that Flynn was getting new counsel, Fox News opinion host Sean Hannity encouraged Flynn to "fight this in court."
"My advice to General Flynn is this: Get your new lawyers, move forward with your legal team," Hannity said.
President Donald Trump congratulated Flynn and Powell in a tweet Thursday morning. He described Powell as a "GREAT LAWYER" and sung Flynn's praises as a "33 year war hero who has served with distinction."
Powell is a former federal prosecutor who has described Mueller and other key figures related to the federal government's probes of Russian election interference — including former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe — as "creeps on a mission."
Powell argued in a February 2018 op-ed for The Daily Caller that Flynn should "withdraw his guilty plea," arguing that Sullivan was "the best person to confront the egregious government misconduct [of the Mueller probe] and to right the injustices that have arisen from it."
"Stay tuned for the fireworks," she wrote at the time.
Flynn was first scheduled to be sentenced in December for lying to the FBI about his contacts with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the weeks before Trump's inauguration. Flynn accepted an offer to delay his sentencing after Sullivan tore into him at that hearing, telling him that "arguably, you sold your country out. "
Powell was in the courtroom for that hearing.
She criticized Sullivan on Twitter for his comments about Flynn.
On Wednesday, Powell retweeted a tweet that revealed she is Flynn's new lawyer. The news was first reported by The Hill.
Powell did not immediately return a call from CNBC.
In a phone interview with The Hill, Powell said, "I'm honored to be representing General Flynn, who I've long considered an American hero. "
"The General and his family want to thank everyone across the country for their cards and contributions to his legal defense fund. He is going to continue to cooperate with the government, pursuant to his plea agreement," Powell said, according to The Hill.