WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said he felt “very badly” for his ex-national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, who pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in the investigation into Russian meddling.
“I feel badly for Gen. Flynn. I feel very badly. He’s led a very strong life, and I feel very badly about it,” Trump told reporters Monday as he left the White House for a trip to Utah where he is expected to announce cuts to two national monuments there.
“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 said.
Trump has repeatedly said Clinton lied to the FBI without providing any evidence. FBI officials have said publicly they have no reason to believe that Clinton lied during their investigation of her use of a private email server while she was secretary of State.
In tweets over the weekend, Trump tried to cast doubts on the impartiality of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, contrasting the treatment Flynn received with how the FBI handled the Clinton investigation.
After Clinton was interviewed by the FBI in July 2016, then-FBI Director James B. Comey decided not to recommend charging Clinton but called her handling of classified information in her email system “extremely careless.”
Trump has also cited reports an FBI agent had been removed from Mueller’s team over text messages critical of Trump.
On Saturday, Trump tweeted he fired Flynn because Flynn lied to Vice President Mike Pence and the FBI. That assertion that he knew Flynn had lied to the FBI sparked new discussion of whether Trump may have obstructed justice in a discussion with Comey in February.
Comey has testified that Trump told him he hoped he could “see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.” Trump has denied saying that. White House officials now say Trump did not write Saturday’s tweet, claiming one of his lawyers did.
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