On Friday, Special Counsel for the Russia investigation Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump team took a new and dramatic turn with former presidential national security adviser Michael Flynn entering into a plea agreement, pleading guilty to lesser charges than he could face and fully cooperating with Mueller’s office.
There was some stunning but honestly not entirely surprising reporting on Friday from ABC’s Brian Ross that Flynn is prepared to testify that Donald Trump himself directed him to make contacts with the Russians.
Initially, the implication was that Trump directed Flynn to contact Russia during the campaign, but Ross eventually reported on a clarification from a Flynn associate that Trump only directed him to actually get in touch with Russia after the election.
Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russia contacts, which included an effort to find out Russia’s position on a particular United Nations Security Council resolution and efforts to reassure Russia that the Trump team was not opposed to their interests.
The former communications were allegedly directed by Jared Kushner, who allegedly wanted Flynn “to learn where each country stood on the vote on a resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity and ‘to influence those governments to delay the vote or defeat the resolution.'” That revelation yet again condemns the Trump team as having sought to coordinate foreign policy with Russia before Trump’s inauguration.
With these issues in mind, Trump should no doubt be concerned about where Mueller’s investigation should go from here, with his own former national security adviser allegedly prepared to testify against him and people in his inner circle, but Trump is sticking to his insistence that there’s nothing to the Russia investigation that necessarily condemns his team.
After a comparatively long period of relative silence on the issue, Trump finally took to Twitter the day after Flynn’s guilty plea to address the issue.
‘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!’
Was the supposed fact that there was “nothing to hide” why Trump didn’t fire Flynn even after being warned by Acting Attorney General Sally Yates that he’d been lying about the content of his communications with the Russians? Was the supposed fact that there was “nothing to hide” why Flynn felt compelled to lie about his communications with the Russians, allegedly to the Vice President but most certainly to the FBI?
In short, Trump’s insistence that there is “nothing to hide” doesn’t seem to correlate to reality, like so many of the president’s other statements.
Additionally, he seems to incriminate himself by admitting that he knew Flynn lied to the FBI, even though he still kept Flynn around for awhile anyway. He only fired Flynn — who, besides his lies and Russia contacts, secretly worked as a lobbyist for foreign government interests — after news of his corruption leaked to the public.
Check out Twitter’s response below.
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