WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Monday slammed his own Justice Department again over its Russia investigation, saying it “destroyed” Michael Flynn’s life while doing “nothing” to Hillary Clinton.
Three days after Flynn — Trump’s first White House national security adviser and former campaign aide — pleaded guilty to misleading federal officials, the president suggested Clinton also should face charges.
“I feel badly for General Flynn. I feel very badly,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House on a trip to Utah to roll back Obama administration-era national lands designations. He added Flynn, a retired Army three-star general, who he fired and also was fired by then-President Barack Obama from his post leading the military’s top intelligence agency, has lived a “very strong life.”
“I will say this: Hillary Clinton lied many times to the FBI. Nothing happened to her. Flynn lied, and they destroyed his life,” Trump said on a cold December morning, his breath visible as he spoke. “I think it’s a shame.
Senior White House officials in recent days have tried to create some cover between Trump and Flynn — but the president appears intent on letting his views be known.
He cited a July 2016 meeting between FBI officials and Clinton over her use of a private email server while serving as Obama’s first secretary of state. Trump accused Clinton of lying during that session, but provided no evidence.
“Hillary Clinton on the Fourth of July weekend (in 2016) went to the FBI, not under oath, it was the most incredible thing anyone’s ever seen,” Trump said, using one of his favorite phrases. “She lied many times — nothing happened to her. Flynn lied and it’s like they ruined his life.”
It was the second time in three days Trump has weighed in on the Flynn case.
On Saturday, Trump contended that his national security adviser did nothing illegal during the 2016 campaign, tweeting that Flynn erred only in lying to federal officials.
“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies,” Trump tweeted.
One problem with the Saturday tweet: Flynn gave his misleading statements to the Justice Department’s special counsel after Trump fired him under the explanation he did so for misleading Vice President Mike Pence.
On Saturday, Trump tweeted that it is “a shame” that Flynn was charged. Why? According to Trump: “Because his actions during the transition were lawful.”
For months, Trump has contended his campaign did not collude with the Kremlin nor conduct in any illegal activities.
He continued that line of defense on Saturday, tweeting: “There was nothing to hide!”
-John T. Bennett, ©2017 CQ-Roll Call, Inc., All Rights Reserved, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.