President Donald Trump explained the firing of his former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn around a week after Trump’s personal counsel reached out for a “heads up” on any information that could “implicate the President.”
Remember this tweet from December 2, 2017?
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
“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 claimed at the time. Notice that Trump’s expressed motivation was Flynn’s criminality.
However, we now know that Trump’s personal counsel reached out to Flynn days before Trump explained Flynn’s termination. It’s notable when you consider that, Thursday night, a federal judge ordered the ordered government to file an “unredacted version of those portions” of the publicly-available version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s report that related to Flynn. The judge also ordered the filing of the transcript of a “voicemail recording.”
The publicized partial transcript of the voicemail showed that President Donald Trump‘s personal counsel asked Flynn for a “heads up ” on information that could “implicate the President”:
Again, here's a partial transcript of that phone call referenced in the Flynn addendum.
If people want to start badgering the White House for why Trump's lawyer was so convinced Flynn had evidence implicating Trump you don't have to wait. pic.twitter.com/6WS1EyanUn
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) May 16, 2019
This voicemail has been called an “attempt to obstruct.”
As Law&Crime reported before, a helpful chart recently documented “potential wrongdoing” by Trump attorneys. The chart was created by matching up the dates in the Mueller Report with publicly searchable information on which lawyers were representing Trump on what matters, and when. One of the events that was explored was a voicemail that Flynn received “on or shortly after” November 24, 2017. This was what the Mueller Report said about it:
On or shortly after Nov. 24, 2017 Personal counsel asks Flynn attorney for “heads up” on info implicating the President; says refusal to discuss reflects “hostility” and promises to convey to Trump. After Flynn withdrew from a joint defense agreement [JDA] with the President and began cooperating with the government, the President’s personal counsel left a message for Flynn’s attorneys reminding them of the President’s warm feelings towards Flynn, which he said “still remains,” and asking for a “heads up” if Flynn knew “information that implicates the President.” When Flynn’s counsel reiterated that Flynn could no longer share information pursuant to a joint defense agreement, the President’s personal counsel said he would make sure that the President knew that Flynn’s actions reflected “hostility” toward the President.
Note that this was AFTER Flynn withdrew from a joint defense agreement with Trump. Jay Sekulow, John Dowd and Michael Cohen were representing President Trump at the time.
The unredacted information about Flynn’s cooperation in Mueller’s obstruction probe revealed that before and after his guilty plea his attorneys “received communications from persons connected to the Administration or Congress that could have affected both his willingness to cooperate and the completeness of that cooperation.” Mueller also said that Flynn’s cooperation was what alerted him to this.
Trump tweeted about Flynn again Friday morning.
It now seems the General Flynn was under investigation long before was common knowledge. It would have been impossible for me to know this but, if that was the case, and with me being one of two people who would become president, why was I not told so that I could make a change?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 17, 2019
Former President Barack Obama warned Trump about hiring Flynn.
Correction: Flynn was not fired on Dec. 2, 2017, as this article initially stated. He resigned in Feb. 13, 2017. The story has been amended to say that Trump explained the firing of Flynn a week after Trump lawyer reached out. We regret the error.
[Image via Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images]