WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s tweet on Saturday about firing Michael Flynn from his position as national security adviser is garnering a lot of attention from critics — with some calling it a possible admission of obstruction of justice.
On Saturday, Trump tweeted about the guilty plea Flynn made on Friday, in which the former national security adviser said he lied to the FBI about conversations he had with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak during the transition and disclosed that he is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s office.
“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI,” Trump wrote. “He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”
The tweet immediately caught the attention of critics, who questioned whether Trump knew Flynn had lied to the FBI when the president asked then-FBI Director James Comey to let the investigation into Flynn go.
Walter Shaub, a former director of the United States Office of Government Ethics, responded to Trump’s tweet.
“(J)ust couldn’t resist commenting on Flynn. Are you ADMITTING you knew Flynn had lied to the FBI when you asked Comey to back off Flynn?” Shaub said.
“Tell us, @realDonaldTrump, did you know Flynn had lied to the FBI when Counsel to the President Don McGahn snubbed Yates as she tried to warn the White House Flynn had been compromised? Did you know Flynn had lied to the FBI when you fired Yates days after her whistleblowing?”
California Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu also reacted to Trump’s tweet.
“THIS IS OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE,” Lieu tweeted. “@POTUS now admits he KNEW Michael Flynn lied to the FBI. Yet Trump tried to influence or stop the FBI investigation on #Flynn.”
Former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, Dan Pfeiffer, tweeted, “If Trump keeps admitting to obstructing justice, Ty Cobb might be right that the Mueller investigation may wrap up sooner than we think.”
Cobb is the White House special counsel overseeing the legal and media response to the Russia investigation.
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment on Trump’s tweet.