President Trump was thrown into a deepening crisis when his former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and announced that he was cooperating with the investigative team led by special adviser Robert Mueller.
The news, which broke early on Friday morning, caused a seismic shock on the Trump team.
"Terrible" was the verdict of a source close to Trump, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The source added that Mueller's success in getting Flynn to turn around was "very dangerous" for the president.
The likelihood of Flynn cooperating with Mueller had been on the rise since Thanksgiving, when his lawyers told lawyers working for Trump that they could no longer share information.
But the confirmation that the former national security adviser for Mueller was a political and legal bomb.
The atmosphere of crisis gave rise to chaotic moments.
At one point, a small group of reporters at the White House met for a scheduled "pool spray" – slang for a brief photo opportunity and a question or two shouted – when Trump met with the Libyan prime minister in the Oval Office.
They were then taken back to the meeting room without being allowed to enter the meeting.
"There is no pool dew," White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told them.
Trump told reporters Saturday morning not worried about Flynn's developments.
"What has been shown is not collusion," he said when asked about Flynn. "There has been absolutely no collusion, so we are very happy."
The news almost erased coverage of an important advance for Republicans on the Capitol, when the Senate approved the party's tax reform plan: the first major legislative achievement since the Republican Party took control of a unified government in January.
The president's personal lawyer, Ty Cobb, takes a positive turn to Flynn's news. In a statement, he emphasized that Flynn had served as national security adviser for less than a month and also described him as "a former Obama administration official."
Cobb insisted that "nothing about the plea or accusation implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn."
But behind the scenes, the atmosphere in Trump's orbit was different.
"It makes the White House staff very nervous, because nobody knows exactly where the investigation will lead," said one. The Republican strategist with close ties to the administration.
Flynn's decision to cooperate contravenes the president's own exhortations.
Yahoo News reported that Flynn told his supporters in April that Trump had encouraged him to "stay strong."  The previous month, Trump had tweeted "Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in the sense that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big electoral losses), by means and democrats, of historical proportion ! "  The argument that Mueller's investigation is a witch hunt is now almost untenable.
The legal documents filed in connection with Flynn's plea agreement claim that he lied to FBI agents about his conversations with the then Russian ambbadador to the US. Sergey Kislyak during the transition period after Trump's election victory.
According to the documents, Flynn falsely told the FBI that he had not asked the Russians to refrain from escalating the situation in response to the sanctions imposed by then President Obama. He also falsely denied encouraging Russia to derail a resolution at the United Nations that criticized Israel.
Mueller is getting increasingly bored in Trump's inner circle.
Court documents, for example, state that Flynn had been led by "a very senior member of the Presidential Transition Team" to contact representatives of foreign governments, including Russia, and try to persuade them to "delay the vote or cancel the resolution "in the United Nations.
Several media outlets have reported that this person is Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law.
Flynn's developments will also fuel speculation that the president obstructed justice when he asked then-FBI director James Comey to delay the Flynn case, as Comey said, and then dismissed him.
On Friday morning, Comey raised his eyebrows at tweeting a biblical verse: "But let justice roll like water and justice like a constantly flowing stream."
Joyce Vance, a former US District Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, said it would be widely badumed that Flynn's lies to FBI agents have some ulterior motive.
"A false declaration to the government does not happen in a vacuum," he said. "False statements cover other problems, other criminal behaviors, it seems very likely that Flynn has a story to tell and now Mueller has given him the deal he was looking for, or maybe he was forced to accept."
Of the other three people in Trump's orbit who have been accused as part of Mueller probing: Trump's former president Paul Manafort, his badociate Richard Gates and former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, only He knows that Papadopoulos is cooperating with the investigators.
When the news of Papadopoulos' cooperation broke for the first time in October, more high-ranking figures around Trump consoled himself a little for his relative lack of prestige in his world. He was not in regular contact with high-level campaign officials, they insisted.
Clearly, that is not true for Flynn, who was a key campaign advisor and spoke on behalf of Trump at last year's Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where he led the crowd in a chant of "enclosing" her in reference the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton appeals the court rules against the publication of Whitewater's accusations against the Clinton Democrats resurgent Flynn's comments "turn it in" after Mueller accuses Kaine: Flynn will obtain a "fair legal process", tried to deny Clinton MORE .
Flynn's cooperation means that members of the Trump family like Kushner, as well as Trump himself, if he agrees to meet with the investigators, could be at risk, experts say.
Harry Litman, a former paralegal In general, he predicted on Friday afternoon that, "Kushner and Trump are huddled with their lawyers now trying to discover everything they said to Michael Flynn."
Litman added: "It's not that prosecutors say:" Flynn thinks X, what do you think? "If Flynn said X and then they say Y, they could be in serious trouble."
No one knows how much Mueller knows, or if other possible witnesses, not yet discovered, are cooperating with him.
If the people close to the president have something to hide, that is a disconcerting vision.
"For Trump, remember the central part of Flynn's investigation has played in all the maneuvers to date," Litman said. "Well, whatever Flynn knows, Bob Mueller now knows, and everything Mueller knows now, eventually the country will know."
The Memo is a column reported by Niall Stanage, mainly focused on Donald Trump Donald John TrumpDems resurfaces Flynn's comments of "locking her up" after Mueller accuses Congress of preventing private prisons from receiving tax breaks. Evangelicals were with Trump in 2016, and will be in the presidency of 2020 MORE .