Donald Trump said on Monday he “feels badly” for his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty last week to lying to the FBI, and claimed without evidence that Hillary Clinton “lied many times” to the agency without consequences.
The president spoke after John Dowd, a lawyer who sought to take the blame for a Trump tweet which analysts said indicated the president was guilty of obstruction of justice over Flynn’s firing, offered a new defence of Trump’s actions: the president cannot obstruct justice.
Trump’s remarks to reporters before a trip to Utah were the latest in a series of outbursts over the investigation into his campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia, after Flynn’s guilty plea and admission that he is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller.
“I feel badly for General Flynn,” the president said. “I feel very badly. He’s led a very strong life, and I feel very badly about it. I will say this: Hillary Clinton lied many times to the FBI and nothing happened to her. Flynn lied, and it destroyed his life, and I think it’s a shame.”
Trump added: “Hillary Clinton on 4 July weekend went to the FBI, not under oath – it was the most incredible thing anyone has ever seen – lied many times, nothing happened to her. Flynn lied, and it’s like – it ruined his life. It’s very unfair.”
Trump did not provide details about his accusation against Clinton, who answered FBI questions in July 2016 about her use of a private server while she was secretary of state. The FBI never asserted that Clinton made false statements.
Flynn, a retired general who was a senior adviser in Trump’s campaign and his first national security adviser, has pledged to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump’s associates coordinated with Russian efforts to sway last year’s election in the Republican’s favour.
As part of the deal, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, during the presidential transition. Experts told the Guardian the wording of his plea agreement suggested he may already have been wearing a wire or recording conversations with other figures in the investigation.
Trump took aim at the FBI over…