Trump: I never asked former FBI director to stop investigating Flynn

US president’s tweet claims ‘more fake news covering another Comey lie’

US president Donald Trump: I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn. Photograph: Reuters

US president Donald Trump: I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn. Photograph: Reuters

 

US president Donald Trump said in a tweet on Sunday he never asked former FBI director James Comey to stop investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Mr Flynn is the first member of Mr Trump’s administration to plead guilty to a crime uncovered by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian attempts to influence last year’s US presidential election.

Mr Trump fired Comey from his post in May.

“I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn. Just more Fake News covering another Comey lie!” Mr Trump tweeted.

The president has said the actions of his former national security adviser after the 2016 election were “lawful”.

Mr Flynn on Friday pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and agreed to co-operate with Mr Mueller’s investigation.

“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!” Mr Trump said in a tweet.

He earlier insisted there was “absolutely no collusion” between his election campaign and Russia.

Mr Flynn on Friday appeared in a federal court. His guilty plea marked the fourth charge in Mr Mueller’s investigation but was the first to involve someone who worked inside the White House.

Mr Flynn was appointed as the top US security official by Mr Trump in January, but he was dismissed less than a month into the job after he was found to have lied about his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Significantly, Mr Flynn has now also said he discussed his conversations with the Russian ambassador with an unidentified senior official in the Trump team in December, a claim that suggests the Trump team knew about Mr Flynn’s contacts with Russia.

Several media outlets identified this senior official as Mr Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, though these reports were not confirmed.

Mr Trump was asked about the issue as he left the White House on Saturday morning and said there was “absolutely no collusion”. It is all he has said about the matter so far.

In a statement after he appeared in court on Friday, Mr Flynn said he took “full responsibility” for what he had done and that he was co-operating with the FBI.

“My guilty plea and agreement to co-operate with the special counsel’s office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country,” he said.–Additional reporting Reuters