President Trump talks to reporters on Saturday about his national security adviser fired before leaving the White House in search of New York. (Shawn Thew / EPA)
President Trump issued a new refusal on Sunday that asked former FBI Director James B. Comey to stop an investigation into the conduct of his 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 lie of Comey!"
I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn. More false news about another lie of Comey!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2017
The tweet was the last of a commentary on the Trump case that began on Saturday, a day after Flynn declared himself guilty of lying to the FBI about his interactions with a Russian official.
Trump dismissed Flynn 25 days in this administration for misrepresenting the nature of his conversations with Sergey Kislyak, then the Russian ambbadador, with Vice President Pence and other administration officials.
Comey alleged that the next day, Trump urged him to be lenient with Flynn, and wrote notes that said Trump told him, "I hope you can leave this."
Trump fueled the controversy with one of his Saturday tweets in which he said part of the reason for firing Flynn was that he had lied to the FBI.
[Trump says he has nothing to fear from Flynn, then stokes new controversy with tweet]
"I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the vice president and the FBI," Trump wrote in that tweet.
But critics launched on Trump on Saturday, 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 could be an attempt to obstruct that investigation.
"Do you admit that you knew Flynn had lied to the FBI?" When Comey was asked to leave Flynn? "Walter Shaub, the former head of the US Office of Government Ethics, asked in a tweet on Saturday afternoon.
Trump lawyer John Dowd wrote the president's tweet, according to two people familiar with the message, whose authorship could reduce how significantly he communicates something about when the president knew that Flynn had lied to the FBI , but also raises doubts about the public relations strategy of the president's chief lawyer.
Two people close to the administration described the tweet simply careless and unfortunate.
Dowd refused to answer questions about how and when Trump found out. of Flynn's alleged lies to the FBI, a deception that was not made public until several days after Flynn's dismissal.
Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday, left He is now cooperating with special lawyer Robert S. Mueller III while Mueller investigates the Russian meddling in last year's elections and the possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
Flynn's decision to cooperate with Mueller was widely seen as a sign of increasing legal danger for other White House aides and perhaps Trump himself, as the investigation has expanded beyond possible collusion with Russi to include obstruction of justice and financial crimes.
The president continued to tweet about Flynn on Saturday night. In a message, he complained that it was unfair that Flynn's life was "destroyed" for lying to the FBI, arguing that the agency pursued Democrat Hillary Clinton with much less aggressiveness while investigating her use of a private email server as Secretary of state. 19659005] Trump's comment on the case began on Saturday morning, while he was addressing journalists before leaving the White House for a fundraising trip to New York.
He said he was not worried about what Flynn could share now that he is cooperating with prosecutors. affirming energetically that "there was absolutely no collusion" between his campaign and Russia.
[Top FBI official badigned to Mueller’s Russia probe said to have been removed after sending anti-Trump texts]
In other Sunday tweets, Trump also addressed the news that Peter Strzok, the former top FBI official badigned to Mueller's investigation, was fired from that work after his bosses discovered that he and another member of Mueller's team had exchanged politically charged texts that belittled Trump and supported Clinton. Strzok was also a key player in the investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server.
Tainted (no, very dishonest?) The role of the FBI agent in the Clinton investigation is under review. "Led Clinton Email probe. @foxandfriends Clinton's money going to the wife of another FBI agent in charge.
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2017  "Stained (no, very dishonest?)" Trump wrote in an apparent response to the "Fox & Friends" coverage of Strzok's role in the Clinton investigation.
Trump also retweeted a couple of publications on the subject written by Paul Sperry, a media fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution, one suggested that the current FBI director, Christopher A. Wray, should "clean the house" due to the politicization of the agency.
Wray needs to clean up the We now know that the politicization is even worse than McCabe's ties to McAuliffe / Clinton, and he also infected his principal investigator PETER STRZOK, who sent texts criticizing Trump and praising Hillary during the campaign. to supervised Trump probe! https://t.co/0y403oeqvX
– Paul Sperry (@paulsperry_) December 2, 2017
Carol D. Leonnig contributed to this report.