President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, John Dowd, told the Washington Post on Sunday that Trump knew back in late January that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had likely made similar comments to the FBI about his calls with the Russian ambassador as he had made to Vice President Mike Pence.
Following Flynn’s guilty plea on Friday to charges that he lied to the FBI about calls with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Trump tweeted on Saturday that he had to fire Flynn earlier this year “because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI.”
Dowd told the Washington Post and CNN that he drafted that Saturday tweet but said the tweet was poorly worded. Dowd told the Washington Post that then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates suggested to White House Counsel Don McGhan that Flynn made comments to the FBI that were similar to his comments to Pence about the Kislyak calls. Dowd said that McGhan passed on those comments to Trump. Dowd insisted that the the Justice Department “was not accusing him of lying” at that time.
People familiar with Yates’ account told the Washington Post that Yates never discussed the Russia probe with the White House.
Only a couple of weeks after Trump apparently learned that Flynn had made inaccurate statements to Pence and the FBI about his conversations with Kislyak, Trump asked Comey to lay off Flynn. Comey testified that Trump asked him on Feb. 14 to “let this go” while discussing Flynn.
In a Sunday morning tweet, Trump denied asking Comey to stop the FBI probe into Flynn.