President Trump tweeted Saturday that he fired former national security adviser Michael Flynn because Flynn lied to the FBI, as well as to Vice President Mike Pence.
“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI,” the president wrote.
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
This is a brand new version of events. Until now, the White House has claimed that Trump fired Flynn just because he lied to Pence.
According to Trump’s own tweet, he would have known Flynn had lied to the FBI at the time Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation into Flynn, assuring him Flynn had done nothing wrong.
On Twitter, Matthew Miller, a former Department of Justice official, echoes that Trump’s new version of events indicates an effort to obstruct Comey’s investigation.
Oh my god, he just admitted to obstruction of justice. If Trump knew Flynn lied to the FBI when he asked Comey to let it go, then there is your case. https://t.co/c6Wtd0TfzW
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) December 2, 2017
Flynn resigned from his post Feb. 13 and Comey testified before Senate Intelligence Committee that in a Feb. 14 meeting in the White House — just a day after Flynn had left — Trump asked him to drop the investigation. “I hope you can let this go,” Trump said to Comey, according to Comey’s memo on the conversation.
According to that same memo, Trump specifically told Comey in that conversation that Flynn had done nothing wrong. If today’s tweet is true, he then lied to Comey to get him to drop an investigation, knowing full well Flynn had lied to the FBI.
The White House has denied Comey’s version of events, but an FBI agent’s contemporaneous notes about events or conversations are often held up as evidence in court.
The president’s tweet is also self-contradictory: he claims that the campaign acted lawfully, but Flynn lied to the FBI. It’s unclear what, if anything, Trump believes Flynn lied about, if he had nothing to hide.
Trump reiterated in a statement Saturday that his campaign did not collude with Russia to influence the election and therefore Flynn had nothing to lie to the FBI about but did so anyway. When asked about Flynn’s guilty plea, he told reporters “there has been absolutely no collusion. So we’re very happy.”