Could it be? The day we all knew was coming, eventually, appears to now be upon us. Donald Trump may have just incriminated himself in the Russia probe with a reckless tweet in which he seems to admit to obstructing justice.
His lawyer, Ty Cobb, must be beside himself.
Trump, who often unleashes Twitter rants on Saturday mornings from the luxury of one of his golf clubs, seemed to be under control this weekend the morning after learning that his former national security adviser and top campaign official, Michael Flynn, had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December 2016.
But shortly after midday, Trump tweeted this:
“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!” Trump said.
Like special counsel Robert Mueller and his team, and probably every other journalist out there, we have a screenshot of that in case someone finally explains the significance of this to Trump. Or, he can just read the steady stream of tweets coming in from legal experts and reporters reminding the president of the United States that he has changed his story line about firing Flynn. And about later firing former FBI Director James Comey last May.
Flynn was forced to resign on Feb. 13 after being on the job for less than a month. Trump said at the time that it was because Flynn had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about conversations with Kislyak. Trump made no mention of knowing that Flynn had lied to the FBI.
Later, Trump allegedly asked Comey to let the FBI’s investigation of Flynn go. Comey didn’t. And in May, Trump fired him. At the time, the president said Comey’s firing was due to his handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
Trump later admitted to NBC’s Lester Holt that Comey had been fired over “this Russia thing with Trump and Russia.”
Here’s how Twitter is currently reacting to today’s damning presidential tweet:
Update: The Washington Post reported that Trump’s lawyer John Dowd drafted the tweet.
According to the Post:
Trump’s lawyer John Dowd drafted the president’s tweet, according to two people familiar with the twitter message. Its authorship could reduce how significantly it communicates anything about when the president knew that Flynn had lied to the FBI, but also raises questions about the public relations strategy of the president’s chief lawyer.