Man. The news side of Fox News is on the case, huh?
There are two different claims here, one about Trump and one about Flynn. I can’t tell if the claim about Trump is significant or not because John Roberts is vague about who, exactly, briefed Trump on the Flynn call. All he says is that it was “people who would know what the content of those phone conversations was.” If he means that the DOJ briefed Trump in late January, fearing that Flynn was vulnerable to blackmail by Russia because of the call, well, we already knew that. Trump sat on the information for 15 days before Mike Pence found out — apparently from a newspaper — that Flynn had misled him. No scoop there.
If, however, Roberts means that Trump was briefed on the call before that, by his own White House staff or even by Flynn himself, that adds something. It would mean that Trump had allowed Pence to be misled for an even longer period. It would also add fuel to the theory that Trump didn’t intend to push Flynn out until his deception became publicly known. (It would also suggest that Trump had reason to suspect early that Flynn might have violated the Logan Act, but since no one ever gets prosecuted for that, meh.) Although, on the flip side, it might also explain the mystery of why Trump had allegedly been “‘uncomfortable’ with Mr. Flynn for weeks” before he resigned, per the NYT. If in fact Trump had known since mid-January rather than the end of the month that Flynn had misled Pence, then yeah, no wonder he was uncomfortable with him.
The more interesting claim, though, is about Flynn supposedly having had a full recollection of the call. That contradicts the defense he’s used since the beginning of this, that he couldn’t remember exactly what he and Kislyak talked about — a defense he also reportedly used in his interview with the FBI:
Flynn initially told investigators sanctions were not discussed. But FBI agents challenged him, asking if he was certain that was his answer. He said he didn’t remember.
The FBI interviewers believed Flynn was cooperative and provided truthful answers. Although Flynn didn’t remember all of what he talked about, they don’t believe he was intentionally misleading them, the officials say.
Flynn also reportedly blamed his faulty memory about the call when Pence confronted him about it later, an excuse that “irked the typically slow-to-anger Mr. Pence.” If the White House has reason to believe that Flynn misled the FBI when he told them that he couldn’t remember details about the call and the FBI now knows it, that’s going to create no small amount of awkwardness between Trump’s team and the Bureau. Would the Bureau dare try to interview White House staffers to find out if Flynn did indeed have “full recollection” of what was said? If they do and end up believing that Flynn’s “faulty memory” in his FBI interview was just an act, would they charge him? I’m guessing the answer is an emphatic “no” in both cases, but it gives Comey something new to think about.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 17, 2017