President Donald Trump changed his story Saturday on why he fired Michael Flynn as his national security adviser, now suggesting he knew at the time that Flynn had lied to the FBI as well as to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russians during the presidential transition.
That was a turnabout from his initial explanations that Flynn had to go because he hadn’t been straight with Pence about those contacts. Lying to the FBI is a crime, and one that Flynn acknowledged Friday in pleading guilty and agreeing to co-operate with the special counsel’s Russia investigation.
Trump’s tweet: “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!”
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!
Earlier, he emphasized that U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller’s charges against his former national security adviser Michael Flynn indicated no collusion between his election campaign and the Russians.
“What has been shown is no collusion, no collusion,” Trump told reporters after leaving the White House for a flight to New York, where he will attend a trio of fundraising events.
Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia and he agreed to co-operate with prosecutors delving into the actions of Trump’s inner circle in 2016 before he took office.
Under the plea bargain deal, Flynn admitted in a Washington court that he lied when asked by FBI investigators about his conversations last December with Russia’s then-ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, just weeks before Trump took office.
Prosecutors said the two men discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia and that Flynn also asked Kislyak to help delay a UN vote seen as damaging to Israel. On both occasions, he appeared to be undermining the policies of outgoing President Barack Obama.
Trump’s transition team knew: Prosecutors
They also said a “very senior member” of Trump’s transition team had told Flynn to contact Russia and other foreign governments to try to influence them ahead of the UN vote.
Sources told Reuters that the “very senior” official who knew about Flynn’s contact with Russia was Jared…