Political pundits fear, and hope, President Donald Trump may be tweeting his way into a conviction. The commander-in-chief recently tweeted about how he was certain that ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn did nothing “unlawful” during the transition period.
With this tweet, Trump may have openly admitted to the obstruction of justice.
A former Department of Justice official, Mathew Miller, was aghast that Trump tweeted admission to a crime.
Oh my god, he just admitted to obstruction of justice. If Trump knew Flynn lied to the FBI when he asked Comey to let it go, then there is your case. https://t.co/c6Wtd0TfzW— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) December 2, 2017
A White House ethics lawyer under George Bush also said Trump could be tweeting his way to a conviction.
He could be Tweeting himself into an obstruction of justice conviction— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) December 2, 2017
One of Obama’s former senior advisers, Dan Pfeiffer, had similar thoughts.
If Trump keeps admitting to obstructing justice, Ty Cobb might be right that the Mueller investigation may wrap up sooner than we think https://t.co/4lKCKyE3Ce— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) December 2, 2017
Flynn is under investigation for lying to the FBI about the conversations he had with the Russian ambassador during the transition period. The context in which the conversations took place adds to the list of startling revelations about Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 elections.
In the wake of the 2016 elections and the flurry of accusations regarding Russia, the Obama administration had announced new sanctions against Russia and expelled 35 Russian diplomats.
Shortly after the sanctions, a senior member of Trump’s transition team, KT McFarland, said in an email to an unnamed colleague that Trump cannot afford a “tit-for-tat” policy from Russia that had “thrown the elections at him.”
It is unclear whether McFarland was being honest with this remark or sarcastically referring to Democratic accusations of Russian interference.
Michael Flynn was the person who took the lead on communicating the message from Trump’s team to Russia. He called Sergei Kislyak, the then Russian ambassador to the U.S., on Dec. 29 to prevent the situation from exacerbating.
The next conversation between the two took place on December 30, when Kislyak ensured Flynn that Russia does not plan to reciprocate. Also on Dec. 29, McFarland and Flynn discussed Kislyak over phone at Mar-a-Lago. Trump was also at Mar-a-Lago then.
Flynn was charged with lying to FBI about these conversations in January. On Friday, he pleaded guilty to one count of lying.
Trump's initially wanted to replace Flynn as national security adviser, with retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward, who reportedly turned down the job because the White House would not allow him to replace McFarland with a deputy of his choice.
"Defending KT McFarland would be a very curious hill to die on," Politico reporter Michael Crowley said at the time.
Banner/Thumbnail Image: Reuters, Yuri Gripas