If true, why then would Trump ask the FBI director to go easy on Flynn, as former FBI Director James Comey later testified? The message set off renewed talk of potential evidence of obstruction of justice.

But now Dowd, corroborated by a second source familiar with the matter, said the tweet was not drafted by the president himself but rather by the lawyer — and done so in a “sloppy” manner.

The White House, which has insisted that tweets from the president should be taken as official statements, has declined to comment.