On Friday, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn officially pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his contact with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 campaign and agreed to cooperate with the Russia investigation. Unsurprisingly, President Trump took to Twitter Saturday afternoon with an attempt to distance himself from any wrongdoing. Unfortunately for him, his latest tweet implicates him for obstructing justice.
“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI,” Trump wrote. “He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”
Trump acknowledges that the reason Flynn was fired (technically he resigned in February after Trump asked him to do so) was his lying, yet the president continued to defend Flynn after he was terminated, and much more importantly, Trump asked former FBI director James Comey to end his investigation of Flynn the day after the national security advisor was fired.
“I hope you can let this go,” Trump said to Comey in a meeting, according to a memo Comey wrote moments after the conversation.
Trump additionally made his support of Flynn public through a tweet. On March 31, he wrote, “Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!”
Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 31, 2017
Trump fired Comey in May. In a NBC News interview, he subsequently confirmed that the Russia investigation was a factor in the decision. “And, in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said: ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won,’” he said.
Trump has denied that he asked Comey to end the Flynn investigation, but given his insistence on defending the former security advisor and Comey’s subsequent firing, his denial is not the least bit convincing.