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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com

 

If you thought things couldn’t get much worse for Donald Trump after Friday’s guilty plea by disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, then you don’t know Donald Trump.

On Saturday, Trump made what appeared to be an extraordinary admission that he knew Flynn was guilty of lying to the FBI when he fired Flynn, which would mean he also knew that when he pressed then-FBI Director James Comey to drop the Flynn investigation.

The White House subsequently embarked on a dubious attempt at damage control, insisting that the admission was actually drafted by Trump lawyer John Dowd in an attempt to shield Trump from legal liability. But even if true, Dowd’s involvement doesn’t change the fact that it was Trump who tweeted the admission, a fact that sent Trump into a panicked flurry of lies and distraction Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Trump began by comparing Flynn’s crime with Hillary Clinton’s total exoneration by the FBI, falsely implying a “double standard” in the way the interviews were handled, and inventing “lies” that Hillary Clinton never told:

The fact is that the FBI never records interviews like these, and lying to the FBI is a crime whether you’re “sworn in” or not.

In what would be big news under any other president, Trump then renewed his suggestion that the Justice Department investigate a private citizen and political rival:

On Sunday morning, a still-panicked Trump denied he told Comey to drop the Flynn investigation, a clear sign that his apparent admission on Saturday has the White House extremely worried:

Trump then retweeted a pair of tweets attacking the FBI, one of which contained a call for Trump to “clean house” at the FBI, and began obsessing over Fox News coverage of an FBI agent who was removed from the Mueller probe after exchanging political text messages with another agent:

One fair reading of Trump’s promise to “bring (the FBI) back to greatness” is that he intends to make good on the suggestion to “clean house,” further violating the agency’s independence, and obstructing justice in the process.

But lest Trump’s distractions have their intended effect, there is really only one of these tweets that matters: the one in which he denies telling Comey to drop the Flynn investigation.

That is a fairly clear signal that Trump understands the damage he did to himself by tweeting about Flynn, and that his White House’s attempt to shift blame onto Dowd has not healed that damage one iota.