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Trump defends Flynn: "There was nothing to hide"

Michael Flynn was ousted as National Security Adviser in February after contact with Russians. Photo: Carolyn Kaster / AP

President Trump is now defending Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, who just yesterday pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

Trump tweeted: "I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide"

Context: This loyalty to Flynn is reflective of how Trump has always talked about him — back in May, Trump told NBC's Lester Holt that Flynn is "a very good man" even after he knew that Flynn had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with the Russians.

Why it matters: Instead of distancing himself from Flynn like he did after George Papadopoulous pleaded guilty for the same thing, Trump is defending Flynn and claiming that he didn't do anything unlawful during the transition. And that is curiously the same timeframe Flynn is willing to give information about to Special Counsel Bob Mueller when he will reportedly testify about Trump.

One question: Did the White House previously know that Flynn lied to the FBI in addition to Pence? Trump's tweet suggests as much, when he writes that he "had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI," which hasn't been reported.