Trump lawyer claims responsibility for Mike Flynn tweet
US president said he fired security adviser ‘because he lied to the vice-president and FBI’
John Dowd attempted to take responsibility for Donald Trump’s tweet on Sunday. Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters
Legal experts have voiced their surprise after an attorney for Donald Trump sought to take the blame for a tweet sent from the US president’s personal account that could signal he took part in the obstruction of justice.
Mr Trump said in a tweet on Saturday that he fired Mike Flynn as national security adviser in February “because he lied to the vice-president and the FBI” about his discussions with Russia’s ambassador to the US last December. Mr Flynn pleaded guilty in court on Friday to lying to FBI agents.
This would mean Mr Trump knew Mr Flynn had committed a serious crime when, according to the former FBI director James Comey, the president asked Mr Comey the next day to halt an FBI investigation into Mr Flynn. On Sunday Mr Trump, who later fired Mr Comey, again denied making such a request.
In an attempt to contain the fallout from the tweet, Mr Trump’s attorney John Dowd took the blame, saying he had composed the post and that it was “sloppy”.
In an interview with Reuters on Sunday he elaborated, saying he had drafted the tweet and made “a mistake” when he composed it.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2017
“The mistake was I should have put the lying to the FBI in a separate line referencing his plea,” Mr Dowd said. “Instead, I put it together and it made all you guys go crazy. A tweet is a shorthand.”
Mr Dowd said the first time the president knew for a fact that Mr Flynn lied to the FBI was when he was charged.
He said it was the first and last time he would craft a tweet for the president.
“I’ll take responsibility,” he said. “I’m sorry I misled people.”
Talking to NBC he said: “I’m out of the tweeting business. I did not mean to break news.”
The suggestion he wrote the tweet was met with incredulity by Democrats and legal experts.
Mr Dowd joined Mr Trump’s legal team in June 2017, as investigations by special counsel Robert Mueller began heating up.
The White House has yet to comment. – Guardian