Trump does U-turn on Michael Flynn, says he knew about former NSA’s Russian contacts

US President Donald Trump Related News

US President Donald Trump on Saturday altered his version of events about why he fired former US National Security Adviser (NSA) Michael Flynn. Trump, in a tweet, said that when he fired Flynn, he knew the former NSA did not fully disclose to Vice President Mike Pence and the FBI about his links with Russians.

This was in contrast to what Trump had said earlier, that he had fired Flynn because the latter had not been honest with Pence about the Russian s. “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!” he had said on Twitter.

Associates of the US President, however, tried to distance Trump from the tweet. The statement was, in fact, drafted by one of his personal lawyers, John Dowd. When ed by The Associated Press on Saturday night, Dowd refused to comment on the issue.

Flynn, on Friday, pleaded guilty to the charges in court, while acknowledging that lying to the FBI is an offence. He also consented to offer his full cooperation in the Bureau’s probe in the matter.

The New York Times on Saturday reported that emails exchanged between the top run official of Trump’s presidential transition suggested that the former NSA was indeed in touch with other seniors from the transition team before and after he spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

READ | 

An email dated December 29 from KT McFarland, a transition adviser to Trump, suggested that Russian sanctions announced by the Obama government had been aimed at discrediting Trump’s victory.

She wrote that the sanctions could also make it more difficult for Trump to ease tensions with Russia, “which has just thrown the USA election to him”. A White House attorney told the newspaper that McFarland was only referring to what the Democrats had been alleging.

It’s also unclear how he would know that, if information about Russian s had not reached him, as he has been implying in his own defense.

READ | 

Flynn left the White House in February, only acknowledging that he had given an incomplete account to Pence of his conversations with Kislyak. After Trump forced Flynn out, he asked FBI Director James Comey to end the bureau’s probe in the matter, according to Comey’s account. Comey refused, and Trump fired him, too.

Then-White House spokesman Sean Spicer said after Flynn’s firing that it was the result of a “trust issue” and the White House counsel’s office had determined there was not a legal issue.

“Whether or not he actually misled the vice president was the issue, and that was ultimately what led to the president asking for and accepting the resignation of Gen. Flynn,” Spicer told reporters on Feb. 14. “That’s it, pure and simple. It was a matter of trust.”

Trump has been publicly dismissive of Comey and of special counsel Robert Mueller’s continuing investigation, and was often generous in his appraisal of Flynn, except to say his adviser could not stay on the job after misleading his vice president.

At the time, Pence said Trump was justified in firing Flynn because Flynn had lied to him. Neither Trump nor Pence indicated concern then that the FBI had not been told the true story.

Pence, who served as head of Trump’s transition, has not publicly commented on Flynn’s plea.

Trump turned to Twitter again later Saturday night, railing about why Flynn was prosecuted but his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, was not for her alleged misdeeds.

He tweeted: “So General Flynn lies to the FBI and his life is destroyed, 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?”

He then added: “Many people in our Country are asking what the “Justice” Department is going to do about the fact that totally Crooked Hillary, AFTER receiving a subpoena from the United States Congress, deleted and “acid washed” 33,000 Emails? No justice!”

Clinton was voluntarily interviewed for more than three hours at FBI headquarters in July 2016. She was not in custody during her interview and so, in accordance with standard FBI and Justice Department protocol, her interview would not have been recorded. A Justice Department policy on recorded interrogations applies to individuals who have been arrested and are in custody.

It is nonetheless a crime to lie to the FBI about any material fact in an investigation. Comey has said Clinton did not lie to the FBI during her interview.

(With inputs from AP)

For all the latest , download

© IE Online Media Services Pvt Ltd More Related News

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*