FBI Removed Agent From Russia Probe for Anti-Trump Messages

Donald Trump

Flynn on Friday pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between Russian Federation and Trump's 2016 presidential election campaign.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted that he "had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the Federal Bureau of Investigation".

Steve Vladeck, a CNN legal contributor and professor at the University of Texas Law School, said Trump's tweet "certainly implies that, at the time the President fired then-FBI Director Comey, he knew that Flynn had committed a felony".

Trump tweeted about Flynn later in the day, recalling his firing after it was revealed he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Kislyak. President Donald Trump and many of his supporters have sought to discredit the investigation, in part by claiming a close relationship between Mueller and fired FBI Director James Comey and by pointing to political contributions to Democratic candidates made by some lawyers on the team.

According to that same memo, Trump specifically told Comey in that conversation that Flynn had done nothing wrong. "So we're very happy".

"No I'm not", Trump said in his first public remarks on the plea deal.

In at least one instance, prosecutors say Flynn was directed by a "very senior member" of the presidential transition team to discuss a United Nations resolution on whether to condemn Israel's building of settlements.

"I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go".

Flynn, who was sacked from the White House in February, also acknowledged publicly for the first time that he is cooperating with Mueller's team, prompting speculation about what information Flynn could share with investigators. The White House later explained Flynn's ouster by saying he had lost the trust of both Trump and Pence.

"I replied only that 'he is a good guy.'" Comey wrote, describing a private meeting with Trump in the Oval Office on February 14, one day after Flynn was sacked; Comey then added: "I did not say I would 'let this go'".

The president told reporters there was "no collusion" between his campaign and the Russians, then tweeted, "nothing to hide!"

The development came at a particularly sensitive moment for the White House, just as Mr. Trump and Republican congressional leaders are toiling to hold together a tenuous coalition to push through a large tax cut plan.

Trump told NBC News in May that "I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it" and "I said to myself - I said, you know, this Russian Federation thing with Trump and Russian Federation is a made-up story".