In a tweet posted on Saturday afternoon President Donald Trump seemed to assert he fired his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn because he knew he had lied to the FBI and Vice President Mike Pence.
"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!" Trump tweeted.
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
On Friday morning Flynn was charged, and then pleaded guilty to, "willfully and knowingly" making "materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements" to federal agents about his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in late December 2016 during the presidential transition period.
For the most part the president has been quiet since the Flynn news broke but his tweet marks a startling admission, even for Trump family standards, and many have said it will only add to special counsel Robert Mueller's case for obstruction of justice.
The public was told that Flynn had originally resigned in February because he lied to Pence about his conversations with Kislyak, but Trump has never previously mentioned he potentially knew anything Flynn told the FBI.
In the same month Trump met with then-FBI Director James Comey, and a memo written by Comey later revealed the president asked him to drop the investigation into Flynn. "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go," Trump said, according to Comey's memo.
Trump's tweet clearly raises questions about if he knew Flynn had already lied to the FBI, which is exactly what his tweet asserted. Many journalists, legal experts and even lawmakers quickly pointed out that it only builds on Mueller's ongoing investigation and his case for obstruction of justice.
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
The time sequence as Trump now reports it CONFESSES that he KNEW Flynn had committed a major federal felony BEFORE firing Comey for refusing to let that criminal (Flynn) escape justice. That’s a confession of deliberate, corrupt obstruction of justice by @POTUS. QED! https://t.co/tSnnDho81q
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) December 2, 2017
Trump's claim today that he fired Flynn because of lies to FBI, as well as Pence, shows knowledge of lawbreaking he concealed - never before disclosed. — Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) December 2, 2017
If that is true, Mr. President, why did you wait so long to fire Flynn? Why did you fail to act until his lies were publicly exposed? And why did you pressure Director Comey to “let this go?” https://t.co/Ea4kOBpWPv
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) December 2, 2017
...just couldn't resist commenting on Flynn. Are you ADMITTING you knew Flynn had lied to the FBI when you asked Comey to back off Flynn??????????????????????????????????????????? https://t.co/HJWlUvC99F — Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) December 2, 2017