Following the plea deal by former national security advisor Mike Flynn, and amid threats by California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of an "obstruction of justice" case against him, President Trump unloaded on the Russia probe over the weekend.
In a series of tweets, President Trump defended his firing of former FBI Director James Comey, dismissed the "Justice" Department's "Russia Witch Hunt," slammed the FBI under Comey, and retweeted stories about special counsel Robert Mueller having to fire FBI investigator Peter Strzok for his overt anti-Trump/pro-Hillary Clinton bias.
"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!" wrote Trump. "So General Flynn lies to the FBI and his life is destroyed, while Crooked Hillary Clinton, on that now famous FBI holiday 'interrogation' with no swearing in and no recording, lies many times...and nothing happens to her? Rigged system, or just a double standard? ... Many people in our Country are asking what the 'Justice' Department is going to do about the fact that totally Crooked Hillary, AFTER receiving a subpoena from the United States Congress, deleted and 'acid washed' 33,000 Emails? No justice! ... I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn. Just more Fake News covering another Comey lie!"
As Reuters highlights, Trump's tweets have been met with increasingly severe warnings from lawmakers who say Trump is crossing a line in the midst of an ongoing investigation. Among the critics is Trump's former primary opponent South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.
"You tweet and comment regarding ongoing criminal investigations at your own peril," Graham said on "Face the Nation" on Sunday. "I'd be careful if I were you, Mr. President. I'd watch this," he added.
Feinstein also appeared on the political talk shows Sunday and suggested her Senate probe is "putting together" a case that "involves obstruction of justice."
"The [Senate] Judiciary Committee has an investigation going as well and it involves obstruction of justice and I think what we're beginning to see is the putting together of a case of obstruction of justice," Feinstein told "Meet the Press". "I think we see this in the indictments, the four indictments, and pleas that have just taken place and some of the comments that are being made. ... I see it in the hyper-frenetic attitude of the White House, the comments every day, the continual tweets. And I see it most importantly in what happened with the firing of Director [James] Comey, and it is my belief that that is directly because he did not agree to 'lift the cloud' of the Russia investigation. That’s obstruction of justice."
In an interview with Reuters on Sunday, Trump attorney John Dowd said he was the one who drafted Trump's tweet on Saturday and that he made a "mistake" when composing it. "The mistake was I should have put the lying to the FBI in a separate line referencing his plea," Dowd told Reuters. "Instead, I put it together and it made all you guys go crazy. A tweet is a shorthand."
"Dowd said the first time the president knew for a fact that Flynn lied to the FBI was when he was charged," Reuters reports. "Dowd also clouded the issue by saying that then-Acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates informed White House counsel Don McGahn in January that Flynn told FBI agents the same thing he told Pence, and that McGahn reported his conversation with Yates to Trump. He said Yates did not characterize Flynn’s conduct as a legal violation."
Reuters adds that Dowd said that was the first and last time he'll tweet on behalf of the president.