Michael Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI, but it’s already been 10 months since he was fired from his position as President Trump’s national security adviser.
At the time, Trump asked for Flynn’s resignation amid claims that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of his correspondence with a Russian official. Then-spokesman Sean Spicer said the decision to fire Flynn was “not based on a legal issue, but based on a trust issue.”
On Friday, White House lawyer Ty Cobb said that the conduct that got Flynn fired last winter was similar to the criminal charge he pleaded guilty to that day.
“The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year,” Cobb said in a statement.
But between Flynn’s firing and his appearance in court, Trump has praised his former adviser. Here are five ways Trump has defended Flynn since he was fired.
‘I don’t think he did anything wrong’
Trump defended Flynn in February 2017, saying, “I don’t think he did anything wrong. If anything, he did something right… He was just doing his job. The thing is, he didn’t tell our Vice President properly and then he said he didn’t remember.”
‘He has been treated very, very unfairly’
“General Flynn is a wonderful man,” Trump also said in February. “I think he has been treated very, very unfairly by the media, as I call it, the fake media in many cases. And I think it is really a sad thing that he was treated so badly.”
‘This is a witch hunt’
In March, Trump tweeted that “Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!”
He worked for Obama too
In May, Trump sounded a slightly more defensive note, pointing out that Flynn also worked for President Obama. “General Flynn was given the highest security clearance by the Obama Administration – but the Fake News seldom likes talking about that,” Trump tweeted.
(Flynn served as the director of intelligence for the Joint Special Operations Command and the director of intelligence for U.S. Central Command, and in 2012, President Barack Obama nominated him to be the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He retired from that role in 2014.)
He’s ‘a very good person’
“This man [Flynn] has served for many years, he’s a general,” Trump said told NBC News in May. “He’s a — in my opinion — a very good person.”