WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Donald Trump, who was already outraged by the idea that the achievements did not get the credit they deserve, became more worrisome on Friday after news of Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser and former campaign badistant, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
"I think the Russian investigation is wearing down all of us, the President more than anything," said a source close to Trump. "But I think he's more concerned about the state of his achievements and this presidency."
Flynn's statement is as close as the investigation of special lawyer Robert Mueller on the possible connection of the Trump campaign with the Russian meddling in the 2016 elections has reached the Oval Office. It was a dramatic step for an investigation that infuriated Trump since its inception. Flynn spent countless hours informing the businessman turned politician during the 2016 campaign and was Trump's top national security badistant.
How it developed
Trump received information about Flynn's guilty plea on Friday morning, a senior White House official told CNN. The president, the source said, had anticipated that Flynn would be dragged into Mueller's investigation for weeks.
Externally, Trump's main aides and substitutes were trying to break the news as a positive step for Trump, who points out that Mueller's investigation could soon be wrapping up. A senior White House official said Friday that the president does not feel "anxious" about the situation.
Another source close to the White House described the president and his team as a denial of Russian research. They are "totally in a bubble".
This source said that the White House should take Flynn's news much more seriously. "This is like a red alert," the source said.
But the source said that White House officials said the president expects to be authorized by Mueller's team for much longer.
"They think he will be exonerated very soon," the source added.
At more reflective times, however, Trump's confidants acknowledge that the president is upset by Flynn's news, particularly because he is concerned that another deluge of stories about Russia may overshadow his achievements.
Every one of us has come to expect this, including the president, "a source close to Trump said of Flynn's news." The concern is that this could cool what would otherwise be a pretty strong march towards the economic growth we need. "
The source acknowledged Flynn's request, along with allegations of Trump's former campaign aides Paul Manafort and Rick Gates and another plea for Trump's former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos in October: "damaging Trump's ability to do things."
A manifestation of this frustration: while Trump's advisers in the White House devised a communication strategy for Flynn's petition, Republicans in the Senate said they had the votes to approve the tax plan backed by Trump, an achievement that the Trump White House has longed for.
Even when its badistants swore that everything was fine Within the White House, Trump was remarkably maintained at arm's length for much of the day. When Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, from Libya, got out of his car, the sometimes talkative Trump ignored the shouted questions. And a previously planned photo-op with Trump and al-Sarraj was abruptly canceled while the journalists waited outside the Oval Office.
Closest signature yet
Mueller court notices are the clearest signal of potential coordination between Flynn and Trump advisors on contact with Russian officials. CNN reported Friday that Jared Kushner – Trump's principal son-in-law and adviser – was the "most senior member of the Presidential Transition Team" who directed Flynn to contact the Russian ambbadador and other countries about a forthcoming UN Security Council vote on the Israeli settlements.
The investigation is now focusing on Trump's inner circle, which makes it more difficult for the Trump administration to distance itself from the action. When Manafort and Gates were indicted, multiple Trump sources told CNN that the accusations had nothing to do with the White House because the duo never worked for Trump as president.
That's not the case with Flynn, who was Trump's main national security badistant for less than a month before being fired for lying to Vice President Mike Pence.
Trump, according to several sources, considered Flynn a friend, enjoyed his company in the election campaign and in the White House and believed that the retired lieutenant general of the United States Army was an honorable person.
That means that even though his badistant got drunk for a long time under pressure in February, the news on Friday was probably still hard to take. Trump said earlier this year that Flynn was a "wonderful man" who had been "treated unfairly."
The president "feels sorry for Flynn," said a senior White House official because he "likes" the former national security adviser. The official added that Trump is "thinking about Flynn and his family" during this time.
A source close to Trump added that the White House was balancing the fact that "the president was close to Flynn and spent a great deal of time with him" and "the truism that General Flynn created his own problems here "
Regarding a presidential pardon by Flynn, the senior White House official said that "it was absolutely not under consideration."
While Trump was upset by Flynn's guilty plea, Pence's advisers feel vindicated because the former national security adviser was fired for lying to Pence.
What Flynn admitted on Friday is "what we knew from the beginning," a source told CNN. Flynn, the source said, lied to the vice president and lied about the same issue to the federal authorities.