President Trump said Saturday he had to fire Michael Flynn as national security adviser because he lied to Vice President Pence and the FBI, an apparent shift from the reasons Trump stated at the time of Flynn’s ouster.
Trump’s changing rationale is a discrepancy that will catch the attention of prosecutors on Mueller’s team looking into whether the president tried to obstruct the investigation.
“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies,” Trump tweeted while traveling in New York City for fundraising events.
Trump also stressed “there was nothing to hide!”
“It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!” he added.
Before leaving the White House on Saturday, Trump told reporters there was “no collusion” between his campaign and Moscow — but did not elaborate.
Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to federal investigators about his conversations during the presidential transition with Russia’s U.S. ambassador about sanctions related to the Kremlin’s election interference.
The retired Army general said those topics did not come up in his talks with then-Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, a claim that was repeated publicly by Pence and other White House officials.
The former national security adviser is the first person to have held a position in the Trump administration to be charged by the special counsel.
Flynn, who was a close Trump confidant during the 2016 election, said in a statement Friday he is cooperating with Mueller’s team, meaning it is possible he could reveal damaging information about Trump or members of his inner circle.