- Eileen Sullivan The New York Times
President Donald Trump on Monday said the FBI ruined the life of his former national security adviser and said his Democratic opponent for president, Hillary Clinton, suffered no consequences after she lied “many times” to the FBI.
Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI when he was questioned early this year about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. He was the fourth person charged in the investigation by Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to lead an inquiry into Russia’s influence on the 2016 election and possible ties to Trump associates.
As he left for Utah on Monday, the president said he felt “very badly” for Flynn, whom he fired in February for lying to the vice president about the content of these conversations.
“I feel badly for General Flynn,” Trump said Monday. “I feel very badly. He’s led a very strong life and I feel very badly. Hillary Clinton lied many times to the FBI. Nothing happened to her. Flynn lied and they destroyed his life.”
Trump did not cite specifically what Clinton said that he considered a lie.
Clinton gave a voluntary interview to the bureau in July 2016 during its investigation into whether she or her aides broke the law by corresponding through a private email server set up for her use as secretary of state. A few days later, the FBI director at the time, James Comey, recommended no charges be filed against her in the matter.
As Trump headed to Salt Lake City to address his plan to shrink a national monument, he left behind questions about whether he was previously aware that Flynn lied to the FBI but did not act swiftly to fire him, based on comments he made on Twitter over the weekend.
Trump on Monday also offered a strong endorsement of Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama embroiled in accusations that he had inappropriate sexual relations with underage girls.
While many Republicans called for Moore to drop out of the race after several women came out with their stories, Trump has defended him, saying that Moore denied the accounts and deserved to be heard.
“We need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama,” Trump said in an early morning Twitter post Monday.
Moore, a former state Supreme Court judge, has been accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl and of sexually assaulting another teenager when he was a prosecutor in his 30s. He has denied any sexual misconduct, and rejected all calls to quit the race.
The former judge said he was grateful for Trump’s endorsement.
“Thankful for President Trump’s support,” Moore said in a Twitter post Monday.
The fight over the highly contested Senate seat, which became vacant when Trump tapped Jeff Sessions to be his attorney general, comes at a time when sexual misconduct has become a national discussion.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader from Kentucky, was initially outspoken in his support of the women who accused Moore, saying he had no reason not to believe their stories. But on Sunday, McConnell said he was going to let the people of Alabama decide.
McConnell has said that the Senate Ethics Committee should investigate the allegations against Moore if he is elected.
The special election is Dec. 12.
Trump has not said whether he would travel to Alabama and campaign for Moore. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said last week that Trump was “not planning any trip to Alabama at this time” and that his schedule did not allow such a trip before the election.