- The Washington Times - Friday, June 15, 2018

President Trump said Friday that maybe his disgraced former national security adviser didn’t lie after all about his conversations with a Russian diplomat in 2016, contradicting his own past comments about retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and casting doubt on the guilty plea he entered last December.

“I feel badly for General Flynn. He’s lost his house, he’s lost his life. And some people say he lied and some people say he didn’t lie. I mean, really, it turned out maybe he didn’t lie,” Mr. Trump told reporters outside of the White House following a live interview on Fox News early Friday.

A former member of Mr. Trump’s presidential transition team, Flynn, 59, served as White House national security adviser prior to resigning in February 2017 after it emerged that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his interactions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak two months earlier.

Flynn pleaded guilty last December to a single count of lying to the FBI about those same conversations with Mr. Kislyak, and Mr. Trump tweeted the following day that he had fired Flynn months earlier for fibbing to investigators.

“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!” Mr. Trump tweeted Dec. 2.

James Comey, the former FBI director fired by Mr. Trump last May, previously testified that the president asked him during an oval office meeting in February 2017 to end the bureau’s investigation into Flynn. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office is examining both of their terminations as part of the Justice Department’s probe of the 2016 White House race.

Mr. Mueller’s office has filed criminal charges against a total of 20 people and three companies since launching its investigation last May following Mr. Comey’s firing. Five of the 20 have pleaded guilty, Flynn included.

A sentencing hearing for Flynn has not yet been scheduled.

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