The Washington Post reports: President Trump issued a fresh denial Sunday that he asked former FBI director James B. Comey to halt an investigation into the conduct of his dismissed national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn,” Trump said in a pre-dawn message on Twitter. “Just more Fake News covering another Comey lie!”
I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn. Just more Fake News covering another Comey lie!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2017
The tweet was the latest in a running commentary on the case from Trump that began Saturday, a day after Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his interactions with a Russian official.
Trump fired Flynn 25 days into this administration for misrepresenting the nature of his conversations with Sergey Kislyak, then the Russian ambassador, to Vice President Pence and other administration officials.
Comey has alleged that the day after that, Trump urged him to be lenient with Flynn, producing notes that said Trump told him, “I hope you can let this go.”
Trump stoked the controversy with one of his Saturday tweets in which he said part of the rationale for firing Flynn was that he had lied to the FBI.
“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI,” Trump wrote in that tweet.
But critics pounced Saturday on Trump, arguing that if he knew at the time of his conversation with Comey that Flynn had lied to the FBI and was under investigation, it may constitute an attempt to obstruct that investigation.
“Are you ADMITTING you knew Flynn had lied to the FBI when you asked Comey to back off Flynn?” Walter Shaub, the former head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, asked in a tweet Saturday afternoon.
Trump lawyer John Dowd drafted the president’s tweet, according to two people familiar with the message. Its authorship could reduce how significantly it communicates anything about when the president knew that Flynn had lied to the FBI, but it also raises questions about the public relations strategy of the president’s chief lawyer.
Two people close to the administration described the tweet simply as sloppy and unfortunate.
Dowd declined to answer questions about how and when Trump learned of Flynn’s alleged lies to the FBI, a deception that did not become public until several days after Flynn’s dismissal. [Continue reading…]
If — unlikely as it might be — Trump ever goes on trial and faces cross examination, just imagine the number of times he’s going to be asked by prosecutors whether he wrote a specific tweet and the number of times he’s going to say, “I can’t remember.”
Meanwhile, he should probably be asking himself about the competence of his own lawyers when they assume the responsibility of communicating on his behalf and while doing so, apparently make sloppy statements.
I guess Trump gets the quality of legal representation he deserves.