Trump accuses Comey of lying under oath, says the FBI's 'reputation is in Tatters' in Sunday morning tweetstorm after Flynn pleads guilty

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  • On Twitter Sunday morning, President Donald Trump accused former FBI Director James Comey, whom he fired in May, of lying under oath.
  • Comey testified in June that Trump asked him to drop the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn in February.
  • On Friday, Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to investigators.

President Donald Trump went on a Twitter spree early Sunday morning, firing off 10 tweets or retweets before 9 a.m.

The tweets were mostly slamming the FBI, and its former director James Comey, whom Trump fired in May. Trump accused Comey of lying about a conversation the two had in February about Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign as national security adviser in February after news broke that he didn’t disclose contacts with Russia.

On Friday, Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to investigators during an interview in January about his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak during the transition period.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump told Comey on February 14, according to Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in June. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

Comey gave no indication that he would consider Trump’s request. Three months later, Trump abruptly fired Comey, who was leading the FBI’s Russia investigation at the time.

On Sunday, Trump accused Comey of lying about that conversation.

Sunday’s tweets followed up on Trump’s comments on Saturday, in which the president told reporters on the White House lawn that “What has been shown is no collusion.”

“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI,” Trump tweeted on Saturday. “He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”

Experts told Business Insider that Trump’s tweet from Saturday indicates he’s “utterly clueless about his own jeopardy” in a possible obstruction of justice case that Mueller could bring in his Russia probe.

‘Tainted (no, very dishonest?)’

Trump then turned attention to an FBI agent who special counsel Robert Mueller removed from his investigation this summer for harboring anti-Trump sentiment.

A source told the AP that the agent also worked on the investigation into former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. After publicly reopening the Clinton investigation in November, Comey said just before the 2016 election that the FBI found no wrongdoing.

Comey indirectly weighed in on the Flynn guilty plea news on Friday. At noon, he tweeted his “favorite” biblical verse, and linked to a photo he posted on Instagram of the Great Falls of the Potomac River.

“‘But justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream’ Amos 5:24,” Comey wrote, quickly accumulating tens of thousands of likes and retweets.

On Saturday, he followed up with a paraphrase from Buddha, “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun; the moon; and the truth.”

SEE ALSO: ‘Just unreal’: Trump’s latest tweet indicates he’s ‘utterly clueless about his own jeopardy,’ experts say

DON’T MISS: Michael Flynn is now cooperating with Mueller — and could fuel the obstruction case against Trump

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Trump Lawyer's Claim He Wrote Flynn Tweet Stuns Legal Experts – Newsweek

Legal experts are baffled after Trump’s lawyer John Dowd claimed Sunday that he wrote a tweet on the president’s account that seems to incriminate the commander in chief.

The tweet, posted Saturday, reads:

The message suggests Trump knew his national security adviser Michael Flynn lied to the FBI when the U.S. president allegedly pressured the then–FBI Director James Comey to abandon the investigation into Flynn in a private meeting, a day after Trump fired Flynn.

12_04_Dowd Lawyer John Dowd exits Manhattan Federal Court in New York on May 11, 2011. Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Comey described the meeting from detailed memos he took at the time in a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee ahead of his testimony in June.

“This is a pretty substantial confession to essential knowledge elements of an obstruction of justice charge,” wrote Susan Hennessey, a national security attorney and fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank in response to Trump’s tweet Saturday.

On Sunday, Trump’s lawyer Dowd took the blame for the ham-fisted tweet. “The tweet did not admit obstruction. That is an ignorant and arrogant assertion,” he told Axios, calling the tweet “my mistake.”

Dowd has sought to defend the tweet, claiming Monday that the “president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer” under the Constitution.

Dowd told CNN that he drafted the tweet and that he believes Dan Scavino Jr., the White House social media director, posted it. He would not answer questions about whether Trump reviewed the message.

Read more: Trump attacked by law enforcement over anti-FBI tweets

Dowd’s admission left a number of legal experts incredulous that the former Department of Justice attorney, who once defended a former Air Force officer during the Iran-Contra affair, would make such a rookie mistake.

“Dowd’s explanation to CNN makes no sense. He claims he wrote the tweet claiming Flynn was fired partly for lying to the FBI, but he also rejects the idea that POTUS knew Flynn had lied. Why would you write the tweet then, Dowd? Or did you?” wrote attorney Walter Shaub, former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, who left the Trump administration in frustration early this year.

Dowd acknowledged the tweet was sloppy and told Reuters that he “should have put the lying to the FBI in a separate line referencing his plea.”

“The point of that tweet was entirely correct. It’s just very sad. I don’t know why the guy lied. He didn’t need to,” Dowd told Axios.

“An experienced criminal defense attorney like Dowd would know that it’s proper to say that Flynn ‘pleaded guilty,’ not ‘pled guilty,’” wrote attorney Renato Mariotti‏, a Democratic candidate for Illinois attorney general, in an analysis of Trump’s tweet.

Pleaded is “the traditional past-tense form” that lawyers use when describing a plea, tweeted Bryan A. Garner‏, the editor in chief of Black’s Law Dictionary. The implication is that such an experienced lawyer would never compose the tweet.

Dowd and Trump’s legal team should release the “email chain, texts or other proof Dowd sent the draft tweet, and explaining the Trumpian tone and characteristic errors (‘pled’ instead of ‘pleaded’),” tweeted attorney Norm Eisen, who chairs the board of the nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Some Republican senators warned Trump about continuing to put out messages about the Russia investigation, which is examining whether his campaign worked with Russia to hurt his rival Hillary Clinton.

“I would just say this with the president: There’s an ongoing criminal investigation,” said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on the CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday. “You tweet and comment regarding ongoing criminal investigations at your own peril.”

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