Journalists are pointing to former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s guilty plea on Friday to dismiss President Trump’s claim of “fake news” that he has used to push back on the Russia probe.
Fox News anchor Shepard Smith and CNN anchor Jake Tapper both invoked the plea deal Friday to push back on the White House’s use of the term “fake news.”
“With the Special Counsel and FBI verifying so many news reports from the last year, seems pretty clear why the WH and its vassals have deployed the term ‘fake news’ to attack accurate stories,” Tapper wrote on Twitter.
Smith, speaking about the plea deal
with Wall Street Journal associate editor John Bussey, said the latest development undermines Trump’s claim of “fake news.”
“That this is a ruse, that this is ‘fake news,’ is a lie,” he said on his show.
“I think that Michael Flynn pleading guilty to this charge today explicitly gives an answer to that question. It’s not fake news,” Bussey agreed.
Flynn, who served as Trump’s national security adviser for just over three weeks before being fired in February, pleaded guilty Friday morning to lying to FBI agents about his contacts with Russia.
The charge makes Flynn the fourth Trump associate charged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s election interference and any potential collusion with the Trump campaign.
While Flynn has only been charged with lying to the FBI, he was thought to potentially face significantly more legal risk — meaning he may have avoided further charges through his cooperation deal with prosecutors.
Flynn, a former lieutenant general who served in the Army for 33 years until 2014, is the first person who held a formal office in the Trump administration to be charged in the special counsel investigation.