Trump's lawyer: I wrote the president's 'sloppy' tweet about Flynn's dismissal
(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, John Dowd, said he drafted the president’s Saturday-morning tweet that stated he fired former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lying not only to Vice President Mike Pence, but also to the FBI.
“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI,” Trump tweeted at 9:14 a.m. on Saturday. “He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”
Dowd told ABC News that he wrote those words and had done so in a “sloppy” manner. A second source familiar with the matter corroborated his account.
The apparent admission by the president — that he knew Flynn had lied to the FBI at the time of his firing — seems to add a potentially explosive new dimension to the ongoing investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
If true, why then would Trump ask the FBI director to go easy on Flynn, as former FBI Director James Comey later testified? The message set off renewed talk of potential evidence of obstruction of justice.
The White House, which has insisted that tweets from the president should be taken as official statements, has declined to comment.
It’s unclear who actually tweeted out the message; it is unlikely Dowd has direct access to the president’s official Twitter account and could have tweeted without his knowledge or involvement, sources said.
Dowd’s acknowledgment of involvement in the tweet means it is not clear whether the president did in fact know Flynn had lied to the FBI at the time of firing him — though one source familiar with the president’s thinking said Trump did not know. Administration officials have declined to comment on that matter, as well.
The unusual clarification by Dowd — revealing that someone other than Trump himself had authored a tweet from his official account — could also be an attempt to tamp down on potential legal exposure from the message.
The president did not respond to shouted questions Saturday evening about Flynn’s firing as he returned home from campaign fundraisers in New York City.
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