Did Trump just admit to obstruction of justice on Twitter?

The short answer is, “Yes, yes he did.”

Donald Trump just posted Twitter that he knew, when his National Security Advisor Michael Flynn left his administration last February, that the retired general had committed a felony by lying to federal investigators looking into the role Russia played in our 2016 election. In fact, according to Trump, that’s why Flynn was fired… Here’s Trump’s tweet, along with the response of Congressman Ted Lieu.

So, assuming Trump is now telling us the truth, this means that, when Flynn submitted his letter of resignation on February 13, Trump knew that he’d lied to federal investigators. Furthermore, it means that, when Trump took FBI Director James Comey aside the following day, on February 14, and asked him to drop the investigation into Flynn, he knew that Flynn had been lying about his communications with the Russians. So, when Trump, according to Comey, said to him on February 14 that Flynn “is a good guy,” and that he’d appreciate it if the FBI could just “let this go,” he knew that Flynn had been withholding information, and that the investigation into Russian collusion wasn’t, as he claimed at the time, “fake news” and “a lie”.

So, when Sally Yates, the acting attorney general at the beginning of the Trump administration, warned White House officials on January 26th that Flynn had lied to investigators two days earlier, we now know that this information was relayed to Trump, and that it’s because of these lies, according to Trump, that Flynn was asked to resign. What we don’t know, however, is why it took Trump more than two weeks to fire Flynn, after knowing that he’d committed a felony when he told the FBI that he hadn’t, during the transition, talked with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak about rolling back sanctions that had been put in place against Russia during the Obama administration. [The FBI knew better, as they’d intercepted the call.] Furthermore, we don’t know why Trump would have pushed for the firing of both Comey and Yates, if he knew that the Russia investigation was legitimate… One can only assume that he wanted to kill the investigation as he knew that it would lead all the way to the Oval Office. And this, by the way, would appear to be supported by a report in today’s New York Times about comments made by Trump adviser K. T. McFarland during the transition, which would seem to indicate that Flynn wasn’t a rogue agent, but a loyal foot soldier working on behalf of senior administration officials, when he began conversations with Kislyak… Here’s a clip.

When President Trump fired his national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in February, White House officials portrayed him as a renegade who had acted independently in his discussions with a Russian official during the presidential transition and then lied to his colleagues about the interactions.

But emails among top transition officials, provided or described to The New York Times, suggest that Mr. Flynn was far from a rogue actor. In fact, the emails, coupled with interviews and court documents filed on Friday, showed that Mr. Flynn was in close touch with other senior members of the Trump transition team both before and after he spoke with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, about American sanctions against Russia.

While Mr. Trump has disparaged as a Democratic “hoax” any claims that he or his aides had unusual interactions with Russian officials, the records suggest that the Trump transition team was intensely focused on improving relations with Moscow and was willing to intervene to pursue that goal despite a request from the Obama administration that it not sow confusion about official American policy before Mr. Trump took office.

On Dec. 29, a transition adviser to Mr. Trump, K. T. McFarland, wrote in an email to a colleague that sanctions announced hours before by the Obama administration in retaliation for Russian election meddling were aimed at discrediting Mr. Trump’s victory. The sanctions could also make it much harder for Mr. Trump to ease tensions with Russia, “which has just thrown the U.S.A. election to him,” she wrote in the emails obtained by The Times…

One last thing…. Perhaps not surprisingly, the White House came out today and said that Trump didn’t write the tweet about how he’d known that Flynn had lied to investigators, but that it was written instead by his attorney, John Dowd, which would appear to be yet anther in a long series of baldfaced lies… One would hope that, at this very minute, Mueller and members of his team are confiscating Trump’s phone, and determining whether or not he was, in fact, the author of the tweet in question. And, if he is, one would hope that obstruction of justice charges follow soon after.

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18 Comments

  1. RT
    Posted December 3, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Trump only asked for Flynn’s resignation when the Washington Post published a story about how he’d liked to the Feds. He didn’t fire Flynn because he lied. He fired him because it became public news. We all know that.

  2. anonymous
    Posted December 3, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Kushner is next domino to fall.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-12-02/timing-of-flynn-s-lies-shows-risks-to-kushner

  3. Meta
    Posted December 3, 2017 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Quotes from Dowd about the tweet:

    “I’m out of the tweeting business. I did not mean to break news.”

    “The tweet did not admit obstruction. That is an ignorant and arrogant assertion.”

    “The point of that tweet was entirely correct. It’s just very sad. I don’t know why the guy lied. He didn’t need to.”

    Read more:
    https://www.axios.com/the-suspicious-backstory-of-a-stunning-trump-tweet-2514531611.html

  4. Tim
    Posted December 3, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    One of the best Twitter comments I’ve seen about this came from an attorney: “As a lawyer, I can tell you it is utterly inconceivable Dowd would have been involved at all. Tweeting for a client about an ongoing criminal investigation??? No way.”

  5. Iron Lung
    Posted December 3, 2017 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    None of this will matter.

  6. Jean Henry
    Posted December 3, 2017 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Iron Lung— care to expand on that?

  7. Tim
    Posted December 3, 2017 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Another one: “If anyone reading this, or in U.S. media, or in the U.S. government, or in fact anywhere in the world, can provide another example of a criminal defense attorney tweeting on behalf of a client I’d like to hear it. I was a criminal defense attorney and I’ve *never* heard of this.”

  8. Tim
    Posted December 3, 2017 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    I have one more for you: “As a lawyer, I can confirm that I frequently compose tweets confessing to crimes and send them from my clients’ twitter accounts. It’s the first thing you learn at law school.”

  9. Donald Trump weighs in
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Donald Trump just said this. “Hillary Clinton lied many times to the FBI, nothing happened to her. Flynn lied and they destroyed his life. I think it’s a shame.”

  10. M
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    YEAH, RIGHT.

    THIS IS FROM NBC NEWS:

    The president’s lawyer claims he drafted the president’s tweet, and then sent it to White House social media director to publish as the president.

    When asked for the original email he sent to aide, the president’s lawyer claimed he dictated it orally.

    https://twitter.com/NBCNightlyNews/status/937687983096061952

  11. CNN's Kaitlan Collins
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins:

    “Kellyanne Conway says she was with Trump ‘all day’ Saturday and that John Dowd crafted the Flynn tweet and sent it to the ‘director of social media’.”

  12. Demetrius
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Trump’s lawyer has just declared that – because, he is the nation’s chief law enforcement official, “the president cannot obstruct justice.”

    So now we have a president, not just implying, but actively asserting that he is above the law.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-lawyer-president-cannot-obstruct-justice-n826231

  13. mark kaufmann
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Kinda like that whole impeachment against Clinton which was over perjury and obstruction of justice. They never found an underlying crime to hang Clinton but don’t lie to the FBI that in itself constitutes obstruction of justice.

  14. Iron Lung
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    ““I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies”

    One is a complete moron if you don’t believe that the Republican party acts in the self interest of it’s own, with complete contempt for everyone else.

    Note that Grassley has assets in excess of 12 million dollars, which he didn’t get by abstaining from $10 movies.

    Who votes for these people?

  15. Jean Henry
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    Grassley’s comment made me feel like spending my last few dollars on booze, women and movies. My reasons for being serially short on cash are never that much fun–mostly failing bodies, cars, houses and men. I feel like I missed out.

  16. Iron Lung
    Posted December 5, 2017 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    In my case, it is unemployment that keeps me from being able to avoid the estate tax.

  17. Demetrius
    Posted December 5, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Speaking of despicable comments, this from The New York Times:

    “During the Senate debate over the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Senator Orrin Hatch was challenged over support for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers nine million U.S. children — but whose funding lapsed two months ago, and has not been renewed. Hatch declared his support for the program, but insisted that “the reason CHIP’s having trouble is because we don’t have money anymore” — just before voting for a trillion-and-a-half-dollar tax cut that will deliver the bulk of its benefits to the richest few percent of the population.

    He then went on to say, “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the federal government to do everything.”

    So who, exactly, was he talking about, and which programs are consuming these billions and billions and trillions?

    Was he talking about food stamps, most of whose beneficiaries are children, elderly or disabled? (And many of the rest are working hard, just not earning enough to get by.)

    Was he talking about the earned-income tax credit, which rewards only those who work?

    Was he talking about Medicaid, which again mainly benefits children, the elderly and the disabled, plus people who work hard but whose jobs don’t provide health benefits?

    We can go on down the list. The simple fact is that big spending on people who “won’t lift a finger” doesn’t actually happen in America — only in Hatch’s meanspirited imagination.”

  18. Demetrius
    Posted December 5, 2017 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/04/opinion/republican-tax-bill-benefits.html

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