In an apparent shift from his initial rationale for firing former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, the President said Saturday that he “had” to fire him a month into his presidency because he not only lied to the Vice President, but also to the FBI.
“He has pled guilty to those lies,” Trump tweeted Saturday “It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”
I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2017
The tweet was the most direct response President Donald Trump has given since news broke Friday that Flynn had plead guilty to one charge of lying to the FBI about his contact with Russian officials before Trump was inaugurated. On Saturday morning, he told reporters the White House was “very happy” there was “no collusion” between his campaign and his transition team and the Russians.
But according to charging documents filed Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller, a “very senior member of the Presidential Transition Team” and another “senior” member of the same team directed Flynn to call Russian officials or counseled Flynn on how to discuss sanctions with the Russians.
The President appears to be changing his reasoning for firing Flynn back in February. At a news conference just days after Flynn was let go, Trump said he ousted him because of “what he said to Mike Pence. Very simple.” Now, President Donald Trump is claiming he knew that Flynn had also lied to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials before he was inaugurated.
Some experts say that if the President did, in fact, know Flynn had lied to the FBI back in February, his efforts to get former FBI Director James Comey to end the investigation into Flynn and then firing Comey in May could be considered obstruction of justice.
This is a pretty substantial confession to essential knowledge elements of an obstruction of justice charge. https://t.co/UpQfilPVfJ
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) December 2, 2017