Donald Trump says he feels ‘very badly’ for Michael Flynn and says the FBI has destroyed his life

President Donald Trump is working to downplay his ex-national security adviser’s guilty plea in the Russia investigation by lashing out at Hillary Clinton, suggesting the system is “rigged” if she got away with the “lies” she told the FBI.

The president contrasted that while Michael Flynn’s “life is destroyed” for the false statements he made. Mr Flynn pleaded guilty last week to lying to the FBI as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged ties between Russia and Trump campaign advisers.

In typical Trump fashion, the President has sought to refocus the public’s attention on the FBI’s investigation last year into Ms Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State – an inquiry that did not elicit any indictments or a guilty plea, unlike the Trump-Russia probe.

“So General Flynn lies to the FBI and his life is destroyed,” Mr Trump said, “while Crooked Hillary Clinton, on that now famous FBI holiday ‘interrogation’ with no swearing in and no recording, lies many times…and nothing happens to her? Rigged system, or just a double standard?”

The FBI has not charged Ms Clinton with making any false statements.

According to court documents, Mr Flynn lied telling the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, to moderate Russia’s response to US sanctions that had been imposed the same day by former President Barack Obama. He also lied when he said he didn’t ask Mr Kislyak to delay or defeat an unrelated United Nations Security Council vote. Both contacts happened in December 2016, when Mr Trump was preparing to take office.

On Monday, Mr Trump said he feels “very badly” for Mr Flynn.

“I think it’s a shame,” Mr Trump said of Mr Flynn’s situation, adding that it’s “very unfair” and that the ex-official had “led a very strong life.”

Mr Flynn’s conduct was the reason why he was forced to resign from his White House role in February – after it was publicly revealed that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Mr Kislyak.

“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled…

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