President Donald Trump defended his former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Friday following a public leak of memos written by fired FBI Director James Comey.
Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during the early stages of what would become a special counsel probe into unproven allegations of collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russian agents.
The president has complained that Comey, whom he canned 11 months ago, has lied about their interactions in order to build public demand for sales of his new memoir, while Flynn’s lies could land him in prison.
‘So General Michael Flynn’s life can be totally destroyed while Shadey [sic] James Comey can Leak and Lie and make lots of money from a third rate book (that should never have been written),’ he tweeted Friday.
Former FBI director James Comey’s book is a best-seller that takes pot-shots at Donald Trump, and the president is pushing back almost daily
Following the release Thursday night of memos that Comey wrote after a trio of private meets with Trump, the president lashed out on Twitter – defending Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and whom Trump himself fired in February 2017
Trump has been on the warpath since before ‘A Higher Loyalty’ came out, and the White House has been pushing back with an unusual vigor
‘Is that really the way life in America is supposed to work? I don’t think so!’
In one memo, Comey recounted how Trump once pointed his fingers at his head and complained that Flynn had ‘serious judgment issues.’
Trump complained Friday that his fired former national security advisor Michael Flynn’s life was ‘totally destroyed’ for lying to the FBI while Comey ‘can Leak and Lie’ while being rewarded with book sales
Still, Comey claims, the president asked him to drop the Bureau’s investigation of Flynn, saying he was a good man being needlessly targeted.
Trump fired Flynn three months before he sent Comey packing, following revelations that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his discussions with Russia’s then-Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak about U.S. sanctions.
The president blamed Flynn for failing to alert him promptly to a congratulatory call from a world leader, causing a delay for Trump in returning a message to an official whose name is redacted in the documents.
‘I did not comment at any point during this topic and there was no mention or acknowledgment of any FBI interest in or contact with General Flynn,’ Comey wrote.
By that point, the FBI had already interviewed Flynn about his contacts with Kislyak, and Justice Department officials had already warned the White House that they were concerned Flynn was vulnerable to blackmail.
Trump-backers have focused much of their ire on Comey in recent weeks, demanding consequences for his alleged lies to Congress and his admitted leaking of details from the memos to reporters last year
Copies of the memos written by James Comey
The following day, according to a separate memo, Comey says Trump cleared the Oval Office of other officials, encouraged him to let go of the investigation into Flynn and called him a good guy.
The memos reveal that days before Flynn’s firing, then-White House chief of staff Reince Priebus asked Comey if Flynn’s communications were being monitored under a secret surveillance warrant.
‘Do you have a FISA order on Mike Flynn?’ Priebus asked Comey, according to the memos, referring to an order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Comey said he ‘paused for a few seconds and then said that I would answer here, but that this illustrated the kind of question that had to be asked and answered through established channels.’
Comey’s response is redacted on the unclassified memos.
Trump repeatedly complained to FBI director James Comey in early 2017 that the Russia meddling investigation was a cloud over his young administration, weeks before firing him, leaked memorandums showed Thursday.
Trump ‘said he was trying to run the country and the cloud of this Russia business was making that difficult,’ Comey wrote in a memo on a conversation they had on March 30, 2017.
The Trump-Russia probe ensnared Flynn early (upper center) but Comey has been on the sidelines since his firing in May 2017
The former FBI chief has been on an aggressive book tour including personal appearances and a slew of high-profile TV engagements
Eleven days later, Trump again pressed Comey about the issue. The president told Comey that ‘he is trying to do work for the country, visit with foreign leaders, and any cloud, even a little cloud, gets in the way of that,’ Comey wrote, referring to ‘the Russia thing.’
The memos, which Comey wrote immediately after several meetings with Trump in the weeks after his inauguration on January 20, 2017, depict a president deeply worried about the impact of the probe into Russian meddling in the election the previous year.
Comey makes clear in his memos that he was uncomfortable with the pressure and that it was not completely proper, though at the time he did not allege the president had broken any laws.
Much of what is in the memos, most notably Trump’s demand that Comey pledge his loyalty, has been known for nearly a year.
Comey wrote that the president repeatedly raised the still-unconfirmed story that Russians have a video of him with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel.
‘The president said “this hookers thing’ is nonsense,” Comey wrote. However, Trump also said ‘that Putin had told him, “We have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world”,’ Comey noted.