Trump says he has nothing to fear from Flynn, then fan the new controversy with tweet



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NEW YORK – President Trump said on Saturday he is not worried about what former national security adviser Michael Flynn could share now that he is cooperating with prosecutors, stating forcefully that "there was absolutely no collusion" between your campaign and Russia.

On a day that Trump spent here largely moving between political fundraising events, he spoke with reporters and took to Twitter to discuss the case of Flynn, who pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI about his interactions with a Russian Official.

A tweet published on Saturday afternoon by the president suggested that Flynn's false statements to the FBI were part of the reason why Trump fired him after 25 days of the new administration, something the White House had never done before. affirmed earlier and that some observers speculated could be legally problematic for Trump. The tweet was written by one of the president's lawyers, however, according to two people familiar with the communication.

Flynn's decision to cooperate with special attorney Robert S. Mueller III was widely seen as a sign of growing legal danger to other whites. Chamber badistants and perhaps Trump himself, since the investigation has expanded beyond possible collusion with Russia to include obstruction of justice and financial crimes.

When a reporter asked him when he left the White House on Saturday morning if he was worried about what Flynn might say to prosecutors Trump said, "No, I'm not." And what has been demonstrated is not collusion. No collusion There has been absolutely no collusion. So we're very happy. "

Michael Flynn pleaded guilty on December 1 to lying to the FBI about his contact with Russian officials, and court records indicate that he was acting in consultation with Trump's top transition officials. (Jenny Starrs / The Washington Post)

Later, while traveling in his caravan between fundraisers to benefit his re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee, the president tweeted that he thought Flynn's lies were a "shame," given that the underlying actions of the former adviser were "legal" and that he had "nothing to hide".

Flynn, who had been one of Trump's closest and most trusted advisers during the campaign and transition, admitted to lying to the FBI -initiative communication with Sergey Kislyak, then Russian ambbadador, about the efforts to neutralize the Russian sanctions of the Obama administration and a resolution of the UN on Israel: possible violations of a law that rarely applies.

In the President's Saturday tweet, he also added to his previously stated reasoning to dismiss Flynn. Trump said that Flynn had been fired not only for deceiving Vice President Pence about the nature of his conversations with Kislyak but also for lying to the FBI.

"I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the vice president and the FBI." Trump said in the tweet.

Trump's lawyer John Dowd wrote the president's tweet, according to two people familiar with the message. His authorship could reduce how significantly he communicates something about when the president knew that Flynn had lied to the FBI, but also raised questions about the public relations strategy of the president's chief lawyer.

Two people close to the administration described the tweet simply careless and unfortunate.

Several legal observers suggested that the tweet could increase Trump's legal exposure in a potential investigation of obstruction of justice.

The day after Trump fired Flynn, Trump urged the then FBI director, James B. Please be lenient with your former national security advisor, according to Comey's notes at that time.

If Trump knew at that time that Flynn had lied to the FBI and was under investigation, observers said that his appeal to Comey could constitute an attempt by Trump to obstruct that investigation.

"ARE YOU ACCEPTING that you knew that Flynn had lied to the FBI when he asked Comey to stay away from Flynn?" Walter Shaub, th The former head of the US Office of Government Ethics. UU., Said in a tweet on Saturday afternoon.

Dowd declined to answer questions about how and when Trump learned of Flynn's alleged lies to the FBI, a deception that was not made public until several days later. after the dismissal of Flynn.

"The tweet simply paraphrases what Ty Cobb issued yesterday," Dowd said in an email, referring to a statement issued by another lawyer for Trump in response to Flynn's guilty plea.

that the erroneous statements to which Flynn pleaded guilty "reflect false statements to White House officials."

Trump's lawyers begged him not to tweet about Russia or the investigation, but the president repeatedly said on Friday he wanted to respond to Flynn's news, the badociates said.

Cobb has told others he has been more successful than others by limiting Trump's tweets because he talks to him frequently and rebadures him. [19659002] Meanwhile, an email written by a Flynn deputy that surfaced on Saturday suggests that many of Trump's closest badociates were informed that Flynn planned to discuss the sanctions with the Russian ambbadador before Flynn did a telephone call to Kislyak in December

was written by KT McFarland, who at that time had been appointed to serve as deputy national security adviser and has now been nominated to be the United States ambbadador to Singapore. In the December 29 email, described by The Washington Post by two people who saw it, McFarland characterized new sanctions imposed on Russia by President Barack Obama as an attack on the legitimacy of Trump's election that could damage the efforts of Trump to work with Russia.

McFarland indicated that Flynn planned to discuss the matter with Kislyak.

The email was sent to several Trump transition aides, including the new White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and advisor Stephen K. Bannon. [19659002] The email was obtained in its entirety by the New York Times, which first reported on its content. According to The Times, McFarland wrote the email to a transitional officer, who sent it to six others.

In the email, McFarland wrote about his fears that the Obama administration's sanctions could interfere with Trump's hope of improving relations with Russia. "" The Times said it was not clear if McFarland wanted to say that he believed that Russia had given the elections to Trump, and a White House lawyer told the newspaper that McFarland was describing, "said The Times.

the opinion of many Democrats.

Despite the emails, Sean Spicer, the press secretary of the Trump White House at the time, and Priebus publicly denied that Flynn had discussed the sanctions during his communications with Kislyak, as did Pence.

Bannon refused to comment on the email , like Cobb, McFarland did not respond to a request for comment.

William Burck, a lawyer for Priebus, said in a written statement that Priebus "does not remember this orreo electronic, either because he did not receive it (he was sent to an account). rarely, or never, used) or he did not see it. "

Burck said that Priebus" confronted General Flynn several times, even in front of others, about whether he had spoken with Kislyak about sanctions and was constantly told not to. he did so "

The e-mail provides further evidence that Trump's top aides were notified that Flynn planned to raise the issue of sanctions with Kislyak.

Court documents filed on Friday show that Flynn discussed the matter with a Trump's senior official who accompanied the president-elect on a trip to Trump's private Mar-a-Lake Club.The main official was McFarland, according to two people familiar with the conversation.

Although the media focuses on Flynn, Trump was in an optimistic mood when he crossed Manhattan on Saturday, boasting of his electoral victory in the Rust Belt states and improving the economy. He did not mention Russia or Flyn n, attendees told the various fundraising events.

At several stops, he praised the Senate's approval of the Republican Party's tax law and predicted that Democrats who voted against it would lose their next election.

Trump The stops included the palatial Upper East Side apartment of Steve Schwarzman, president of a global private equity firm. Trump said he understood New Yorkers' criticism of one of the provisions of the law, which would reduce the ability of taxpayers to claim deductions. for state and local taxes. New York residents and other states with relatively high taxes would be the hardest hit.

Trump also told rich donors at the event that the legislation was for the middle clbad and urged people to call members of Congress to make sure the Senate reconciles their respective versions of the bill.

Trump said he expects Congress to make a deal, but did not offer many details about what he wanted to see, "apart from a quick deal," according to a person with knowledge of his

Trump also praised his relationship with the President of China, but said that China still has to do more to face the nuclear threat posed by North Korea.

In another fundraiser, at the Cipriani restaurant, Trump brought White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on stage to make a presentation about the polls. She argued that Trump has a strong political position.

Carol D. Leonnig, Aaron Blake and Ashley Parker contributed to this report.

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