Trump says FBI has ruined former security adviser’s life

Mike Flynn pleaded guilty last week to lying about conversations with Russian ambassador

US president Donald Trump says the FBI ruined the life of his former national security adviser and said his Democratic opponent for president, Hillary Clinton, suffered no consequences after she lied “many times” to the FBI. Video: Reuters

 

US president Donald Trump on Monday said the FBI ruined the life of his former national security adviser and said his Democratic opponent for president, Hillary Clinton, suffered no consequences after she lied “many times” to the FBI.

Mike Flynn, Mr Trump’s first national security adviser, pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI when he was questioned early this year about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. He was the fourth person charged in the investigation by Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to lead an inquiry into Russia’s influence on the 2016 election and possible ties to Trump associates.

As he left for Utah on Monday, the president said he felt “very badly” for Mr Flynn, whom he fired in February for lying to the vice president about the content of these conversations. Mr Trump’s comments on Monday come at a time when the special counsel investigation is focusing intensely on the president’s inner circle.

Mr Trump once encouraged Mr Flynn to seek an immunity deal. US presidents typically do not weigh in on federal investigations to avoid appearing to influence the outcome.

“I feel badly for General Flynn, ” Mr Trump said Monday. “I feel very badly. He’s led a very strong life and I feel very badly. Hillary Clinton lied many times to the FBI. Nothing happened to her. Flynn lied and they destroyed his life.” Mr Trump did not cite specifically what Mrs Clinton said that he considered a lie.

Mrs Clinton gave a voluntary interview to the bureau in July 2016 during its investigation into whether she or her aides broke the law by corresponding through a private email server set up for her use as secretary of state. A few days later, the FBI director at the time, James Comey, recommended no charges be filed against her in the matter.

As Mr Trump headed to Salt Lake City, he left behind questions about whether he was previously aware that Mr Flynn lied to the FBI but did not act swiftly to fire him, based on comments he made on Twitter over the weekend.

Moore endorsement

Mr Trump on Monday also offered a strong endorsement of Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama embroiled in accusations that he had inappropriate sexual relations with underage girls. While many Republicans have called for Mr Moore to drop out of the race after several women came forward with their stories, Mr Trump has defended him, saying that Mr Moore denied the accounts and deserved to be heard.

“We need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama,” Mr Trump said in an early morning Twitter post on Monday. Mr Moore, a former state supreme court judge, has been accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl and of sexually assaulting another teenager when he was a prosecutor in his 30s. He has denied any sexual misconduct, and rejected all calls to quit the race.

The former judge said he was grateful for Mr Trump’s endorsement. “Thankful for President Trump’s support,” he said in a Twitter post Monday. Mr Moore’s wife, Kayla, posted an update to her Facebook account on Monday morning, thanking the president as well.

“Judge Moore just got off the phone with President Trump – we have his full support! Thank you Mr. President! Let’s MAGA!” Kayla Moore wrote, referring to Mr Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Ethics committee

The fight over the highly contested Senate seat, which became vacant when Mr Trump appointed Jeff Sessions attorney general, comes at a time when sexual misconduct has become a national discussion in the US. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader from Kentucky, was initially outspoken in his support of the women who accused Mr Moore, saying he had no reason not to believe their stories. But on Sunday, Mr McConnell said he was going to let the people of Alabama decide.

Mr McConnell has said that the Senate ethics committee should investigate the allegations against Mr Moore if he is elected. The special election takes place on December 12th.

Mr Trump has not said whether he would travel to Alabama to campaign for Mr Moore. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said last week that Mr Trump was “not planning any trip to Alabama at this time” and that his schedule did not allow such a trip before the election.

However, the president is expected to attend a rally in Pensacola, Florida, on Thursday, which is in the Mobile, Alabama, media market. This would allow Mr Trump to help get the vote out for Mr Moore without setting foot in Alabama. – New York Times