Trump Told Flynn To ‘Stay Strong’ — After His Lawyers Told Him Not To

Carolyn Kaster/AP
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Donald Trump’s lawyers have repeatedly warned him not to contact his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who resigned in February after revelations that he lied about conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States, and who remains under investigation by congressional committees, the FBI, and a federal grand jury. The attorneys reportedly expressed fears that any contact with Flynn could look like witness tampering or coordination.

It appears the President did not heed their advice.

Yahoo News reported Thursday that Flynn announced at a dinner in late April: “I just got a message from the president to stay strong.” It is not yet known if the message was a phone call, e-mail, text message or other form of communication.

The revelation comes just days after the New York Times revealed that Trump asked then-FBI Director James Comey to drop his investigation of Flynn, and emerging reports that Flynn intervened to stop a military operation against ISIS without revealing that he was on the payroll of the Turkish government, who opposed the strike. Other reports revealed that Flynn failed to properly register as a foreign agent, and failed to report more than a million dollars in income from Russian and Turkish sources.

Just over a week ago, the public learned from ousted Acting Attorney General Sally Yates that she tried to warn the Trump administration that Flynn was vulnerable to blackmail by the Russia government, warnings that fell on deaf ears. Reports Thursday alleged that the Trump’s transition team—led by Vice President Mike Pence—was already aware that Flynn was under federal investigation when they brought him on board as White House national security adviser.

For now, Flynn is indeed staying strong.

His lawyers informed the Senate Intelligence Committee that he will refuse to honor their subpoena for his documents.

He has reportedly portrayed the investigations as a conspiracy against him by former Hillary Clinton aides as retribution for him leading a chant of “Lock her up” at the Republican National Convention. He previously announced he would be happy to testify before Congress in exchange for legal immunity, an offer that was swiftly rejected.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alice Ollstein is a reporter at Talking Points Memo, covering national politics. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been reporting in DC ever since, covering the Supreme Court, Congress and national elections for TV, radio, print, and online outlets. Her work has aired on Free Speech Radio News, All Things Considered, Channel News Asia, and Telesur, and her writing has been published by The Atlantic, La Opinión, and The Hill Rag. She was elected in 2016 as an at-large board member of the DC Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Alice grew up in Santa Monica, California and began working for local newspapers in her early teens.
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