US President Donald Trump is facing renewed scrutiny about the firing of Michael Flynn, the National Security Adviser whose tenure lasted mere weeks. Some are renewing allegations the president tried to impede a FBI investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 US elections.
CGTN’s Toby Muse reports from Washington.
Follow Toby Muse on Twitter @tobymuse
The fallout from Lt. General Michael Flynn’s plea deal continued with President Donald Trump defending himself on his favorite social media platform.
Trump tweeted that he fired Flynn because he had lied to the FBI. Legal analysts say that potentially puts Trump in trouble.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2017
According to former FBI director James Comey, Trump asked him to drop an investigation into Flynn. Experts say if the president did know that Flynn had lied to the FBI, and still asked for the investigation of Flynn to be quashed, that could open him up to charges for ‘obstruction of justice.’
That’s certainly how top Democrats presented the issue on the Sunday morning news shows.
“What we’re beginning to see is the putting together of a case of obstruction of justice,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
The exact implications of Trump’s tweet seemed to weigh on the White House. An anonymous source told the Associated Press that the tweet on Flynn’s firing was actually written by Trump’s personal lawyer, John Dowd. Trump himself denied he ever asked Comey to drop the investigation in to Flynn.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted: “I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn. Just more Fake News covering another Comey lie!”
I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn. Just more Fake News covering another Comey lie!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2017
Even the president’s allies seem to understand how precarious this situation is.
“I would just say this to the president: there’s an ongoing criminal investigation. Comey maybe part of it. You tweet and comment regarding ongoing criminal investigations at your own peril,” Sen. Lindsey Graham told CBS’ Face the Nation. “I’d be careful if I were you, Mr. President, and I’d watch this.”
When former President Richard Nixon faced impeachment in 1974 for the Watergate scandal, obstruction of justice was one of the three charges used, though the current situation does not perfectly compare.
Additionally, the White House is right when it says the investigation has yet to produce ‘smoking gun’ evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to help Trump get elected.
EXTENDED INTERVIEW: Atiba Madyun on Michael Flynn plea and the state of US politics under Trump
US President Donald Trump’s response to the guilty plea of his former National Security Adviser and campaign member Michael Flynn has caused an already confusing situation to become even more complex. Many political observers are now wondering whether the president may have admitted to “obstruction of justice,” a very serious crime.
Atiba Madyun, political analyst and president of Party Politics US, joins CGTN’s Toby Muse for an extended discussion.