Four statements to ponder. First, the president on May 18:
“No. No … next question,” Trump said when asked during a joint news conference with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos if he had, in any way, tried to influence the probe.
Next, Comey’s account of what Trump said to him in the Oval Office on February 14:
The President then returned to the topic of Mike Flynn, saying, “He is a good guy and has been through a lot.” He repeated that Flynn hadn’t done anything wrong on his calls with the Russians, but had misled the Vice President. He then said, “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.” I replied only that “he is a good guy.” (In fact, I had a positive experience dealing with Mike Flynn when he was a colleague as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency at the beginning of my term at FBI.) I did not say I would “let this go.”
Third, Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz, speaking Thursday afternoon after Comey’s Senate testimony:
Mr Comey’s testimony also makes clear that the President never sought to impede the investigation into attempted Russian interference in the 2016 election, and in fact, according to Mr. Comey, the President told Mr. Comey “it would be good to find out” in that investigation if there were “some ‘satellite’ associates of his who did something wrong.” And he did not exclude anyone from that statement.
Consistent with that statement, the President never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone, including suggesting that that Mr. Comey “let Flynn go.” As he publicly stated the next day, he did say to Mr. Comey, “General Flynn is a good guy, he has been through a lot,” and also “asked how is General Flynn is doing.” Admiral Rogers testified that the President never “directed [him] to do anything . . . illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate” and never “pressured [him] to do so.” Director Coates said the same thing. The President likewise never pressured Mr. Comey.
The Trump/Kasowitz position is that Trump mentioned Flynn to Comey but in no way implied, even obliquely, what should happen with the federal investigation. Nuh uh, counters Comey. He clearly told me what he “hoped” would happen. Which brings us to the fourth statement, from Donald Jr on Jeanine Pirro’s show last night:
“When [my father] tells you to do something, guess what, there’s no ambiguity in it. There’s no, ‘Hey I’m hoping’. You and I are friends, ‘Hey, I hope this happens but you get to do your job.’ That’s what he told Comey.“
He moved the goalposts. The White House line until now has been that Trump never expressed an opinion about which way the Flynn probe should go. Now here’s Junior saying sure he did. He’s quick to add that he thinks Comey misinterpreted dad’s request as an attempt to pressure him, but the request apparently was made — according to Trump’s own son. That’s a bad admission since the line between a “request” and an order from a superior is blurry; the Trump/Kasowitz strategy of flatly denying that any request had been made was smarter, but now Donald Jr’s screwed that up. What’s Spicer going to say tomorrow to this? More importantly, what’s Donald Jr going to say when Bob Mueller subpoenas him now to testify to what he knows about the Trump/Comey conversation?
Donald Trump Jr. contradicts his father, says POTUS did tell Comey to let the Flynn thing go pic.twitter.com/wtsuEVWQBX
— Axios (@axios) June 11, 2017