- George Frey/Getty Images
President Donald Trump’s previous comments about his former national security adviser Mike Flynn are being scrutinized Tuesday night after multiple news outlets reported that Trump asked FBI Director James Comey to drop the Flynn investigation before Comey was fired on May 9.
“I hope you can let this go,” Trump was alleged to have said to Comey, according to one of Comey’s memos cited by The New York Times.
Flynn was forced out of the Trump administration for misleading Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about discussions he had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Those discussions included the matter of US sanctions against Russia, and were held prior to Trump’s inauguration.
Former deputy attorney general Sally Yates warned the White House that Flynn’s phone calls with the ambassador were liable to make Flynn vulnerable to Russian blackmail.
Since then, Trump has defended his longtime surrogate even after learning of his deception. This wouldn’t be the first time Trump has been placed in an awkward position of defending the adviser he fired – the same one under federal scrutiny – and at the center of the recent string of scandals from the White House.
Here are several times Trump has defended former national security adviser Michael Flynn:
“Gen. Flynn is a wonderful man. I think he has been treated very, very unfairly by the media, as I call it, the fake media in many cases. And I think it is really a sad thing that he was treated so badly.”
On February 15, one day after he fired Flynn, Trump gave a list of qualities he thought were inherent in his former national security adviser, and how he believed Flynn was treated unfairly by the media.
“The concept of Russia with respect to us is a total phony story … I just heard where General Flynn got his clearance from the Obama administration.”
- Official White House
During an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on April 30, Trump rebuffed the allegations of collusion with Russian officials that were being directed against his administration. He also pointed out that Flynn’s security clearance was granted during President Barack Obama’s administration – a fact that he maintains in subsequent interviews with the press.
“This man has served for many years, he’s a general, he’s a — in my opinion — a very good person,” said Trump. “I believe that it would be very unfair to hear from somebody who we don’t even know and immediately run out and fire a general.”
- Mario Tama /Getty Images
In an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt on May 11, Trump once again came to Flynn’s defense, and in doing so, repudiated criticism that his administration did not fire him earlier. Flynn retained his position for 18 days after White House staff were notified of discrepancies with his statements regarding his contacts with Russian officials.
Source: NBC News
“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
- Win McNamee/Getty Images
According to a memo from former FBI Director James Comey, Trump was alleged to have said to Comey to ease up on the FBI’s investigation into Flynn’s Russian contacts. The memo was reported to have been written by Comey immediately following his conversation with Trump – one day after Flynn was fired from his staff.
Source: The New York Times
Weeks after firing Flynn, Trump posted on Twitter to defend him from the scathing reports of his Russian contacts prior to taking office. Flynn eventually did ask for immunity in exchange for his testimony; however, the Senate Intelligence Committee turned down his request.
Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 31, 2017