Donald Trump is facing claims that a tweet about the firing of his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn could amount to obstruction of justice, with one former government ethics official saying it could ‘end’ his presidency.
Responding to Mr Flynn’s guilty plea for lying to the FBI as part of the federal investigation into possible links between his presidential campaign and Russia, Mr Trump tweeted: “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!“
Critics jumped on the social media post, claiming it appeared to suggest that Mr Trump knew that Mr Flynn had lied to investigators before he was forced out of the administration in February.
The president then allegedly encouraging the head of the FBI to drop the investigation into Mr Flynn.
Mr Flynn was interviewed by the FBI on 24 January and he admitted in a Washington DC courtroom earlier this week, that he had made false statements at that time about his contact in December with then-Russian Ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak. He discussed US sanctions with the ambassador on 29 December.
The week before he spoke about a United Nations vote on Israel. Mr Flynn admitted to originally telling the FBI that he did not do so.
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
Mr Flynn resigned from the Trump administration on 13 February after it emerged he had also given inaccurate statements Vice President Mike Pence about his interactions with Mr Kisylak. Former FBI Director James Comey subsequently testified in front of Congress that Mr Trump told him during a 14 February meeting at the White House, that he hoped Mr Comey could “let this go”, in regards to the investigation of Mr Flynn.
The former director of the US Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, was quick to suggest the tweet might have “ended” any other presidential administration.
…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
Before we slipped into an alternate universe of unabashed corruption,…