The Latest: Tweet leads to more Trump-Russia questions
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times local):
The shifting explanations for why President Donald Trump fired national security adviser Michael Flynn have revived questions about whether the president may have obstructed an ongoing investigation of potential contacts between his campaign and Russia.
Flynn last week pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador, with prosecutors revealing that he is now cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
The president’s aides and legal advisers have scrambled to explain a presidential tweet that raised the specter of obstruction, saying, “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI.”
That tweet appeared to suggest Trump was aware when the White House dismissed Flynn on Feb. 13 that the national security adviser had lied to the FBI.
The Kremlin says a conversation between President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser and the Russian ambassador to the United States did not influence Russian President Vladimir Putin’s response to sanctions imposed by Trump’s predecessor.
Former adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI about reaching out to Russian officials.
Prosecutors say Flynn in December 2017 asked Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergei Kislyak, “not escalate the situation” after the outgoing Obama administration imposed sanctions on Russia in retaliation for suspected election interference. Just days later, Putin opted not to retaliate.
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday it was “absurd” to suggest that the phone conversation could have influenced Putin’s decision and added that “such requests could not have been passed on” to the president.
President Donald Trump says he feels “very badly” for his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who last week pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
The president says it’s “very unfair” how Flynn has been treated, adding that “it’s like they ruined his life.”
Trump tried to contrast Flynn’s treatment with that of his Democratic presidential rival, Hillary Clinton, whom he says “lied many times to the FBI and nothing happened.”
Trump spoke to reporters on Monday as he departed the White House to head to Utah. Trump fired Flynn for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russia.
Flynn left the White House in February after acknowledging that he had given an incomplete account to Pence about his contacts regarding Russia. He pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about reaching out to the Russians on Trump’s behalf. He is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
President Donald Trump fired off a series of weekend tweets taking aim at targets old and new.
He criticized the FBI and raised questions about the special prosecutor’s investigation into Russian election meddling and possible ties to his campaign.
The Twitter storm containing more than a dozen tweets Saturday and Sunday came after Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. In one his messages, Trump again denied that he directed FBI Director James Comey to stop investigating Flynn.
Trump also questioned the FBI’s direction and wrote that after Comey, whom he fired in May, the FBI’s reputation is “in Tatters — worst in History!”
The president also retweeted a post saying new FBI Director Chris Wray “needs to clean house.”