The White House, after attempting to walk back President Trump’s tweet in which he appears to admit to obstruction of justice — both by claiming the president cannot commit obstruction of justice and that the admission wasn’t actually made by President Trump — keeps being almost simultaneously refuted by details related to Trump’s tweet that he fired Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI. It’s a very circular mess.
In the latest development, CNN reports that (after a conversation with then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates) White House counsel Donald McGahn, who did not allegedly write Trump’s tweet (John Dowd supposedly did), told Trump in January that he believed that then-National Security Advisor Flynn lied to the FBI as well as Mike Pence. This report further calls into question what Trump knew about Flynn’s actions while at the same time allegedly asking then-FBI director James Comey to stop investigating Flynn.
Yates reportedly told McGahn that there was concern that Flynn had been compromised by Russia, who likely had transcripts of what Flynn had discussed with then-ambassador Sergei Kislyak. However, she did not tell McGahn what specifically Flynn had lied about. More from CNN:
A week later, McGahn was provided a transcript of what Flynn and Kislyak discussed and the conclusion was that it was inconsistent with what Pence said publicly he had been told by the national security adviser.
Despite McGahn’s recommendation that Trump fire Flynn, the retired lieutenant general was kept on. Flynn was forced out in mid-February after news outlets reported about Yates’ warning to McGahn.
McGahn was interviewed by Special Counsel investigators last week prior to Flynn entering his guilty plea.