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It’s a Twitter whodunit.
President Donald Trump sent out a tweet on Saturday morning that set the political world aflame, for what it apparently revealed about his knowledge of the deeds of former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn. In a matter of hours, however, Trump’s personal attorney John Dowd claimed responsibility for the tweet, saying he’d drafted it personally and did not intend to make news.
The tweet in question, sent out from the president’s account Saturday morning, suggests that he knew Flynn had lied to the FBI at the time he fired him. That would mean Trump knew Flynn had committed a serious crime at the time when he tried to convince former FBI Director James Comey to stop investigating Flynn. In June, Comey testified under oath that Trump had asked him to let the Flynn investigation go; Flynn was fired in February, with Trump saying he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
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 tweet, thanks to the appearance that Trump admitted he knew Flynn was guilty at the time Comey says he tried to interfere in the FBI’s investigation, has been seized on by Trump’s critics as evidence of obstruction of justice. Dowd, however, insists he was the one who wrote it, as Axios reported on Sunday morning.
“I’m out of the tweeting business,” Dowd reportedly said. “I did not mean to break news.” Dowd also reportedly denied that the tweet was an admission of obstruction, calling that conclusion “ignorant” and “arrogant.”
We’re supposed to believe John Dowd wrote pled instead of pleaded? https://t.co/q2FmO8AsQ0
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) December 2, 2017
The problem here is that it’s impossible to actually know who sent the tweet. Dowd says it was him, but it came from Trump’s official account, which he is widely reported to run and manage himself. In a string of tweets sent out since Saturday morning, Trump has since attacked the FBI, the Justice Department, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and Comey, insisting the latter lied under oath about being urged to end the Flynn investigation.