Michael Flynn’s false statements to the FBI regarding his contacts with Russia during Trump’s transitional period have Robert Mueller ruminating on a very specific question: did Michael Flynn lie to the FBI about his Russian contacts because he had been coached or otherwise directed to do so by a member of the president’s administration?
Did the president himself coax Flynn into lying?
If it’s found that Trump had no knowledge of Flynn’s intent to lie to the FBI, presumably Mueller’s next question will be at what point President Trump became aware that his national security adviser done so.
Official records indicate that on January 26th, the White House became informed that Flynn had misled top Trump officials about those contacts which led to Flynn’s termination on February 13th. Vice President Pence himself was name-checked as having been lied to on Flynn upon Mr. Flynn’s ouster.
But it’s highly implausible that President Trump knew nothing of Flynn’s contacts, nor his intent to mislead the FBI. First Son-in-Law (and inexplicable adviser) Jared Kushner’s contacts with Russian officials overlapped Flynn’s and Jared Kushner continues to struggle with the laborious process of updating his Russian contact portfolio to an extent that pleases the Justice Department.
Per the original NBC News story:
“The questions about what happened between Jan. 26 and Flynn’s firing on Feb. 13 appear to relate to possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump, say two people familiar with Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling and potential collusion with the Trump campaign.”
Reportedly, Mueller’s investigators have asked several key witnesses, including White House Counsel Don McGahn, to describe in detail what exactly they knew was happening each day that Flynn remained as national security adviser and inside the White House.
It’s coming down to: what did Trump know and when did he know it. The devil is in the details here as President Trump could conceivably charged with obstruction.