Let's start with a basic rundown of Donald Trump's comments Thursday about the demise of his national security adviser, Michael Flynn: Flynn resigned; he fired him; Flynn's great, he was just doing his job; his resignation is all the media's fault; and, finally, if Flynn hadn't made those Russia calls, Trump would have told him to do it anyway.
Confused? Let's unpack Trump's full panoply of conflicting statements.
1. Flynn resigned at Trump's request
“Mike Flynn is a fine person, and I asked for his resignation. He respectfully gave it.”
Ok, so Flynn resigned.
2. Trump fired Flynn
“No, I fired him because of what he said to Mike Pence.”
Ok, so Flynn was fired.
3. Flynn didn't do any thing wrong
“Mike was doing his job. He was calling countries and his counterparts.”
Ok, so Flynn’s only fireable offense (for which he resigned, ahem) was lying to Pence. Otherwise, he was just doing his “job” by talking to Russian officials—except that he didn’t exactly have a “job” yet because Barack Obama was still president (i.e. the Logan Act/one president rule)
4. Trump didn't tell Flynn to make the illegal calls, but he would have if he had thought of it
“No, I didn't direct him, but I would have directed him if he didn't do it.”
The Dons always hires the best!
5. Flynn's fate is all the media's fault
“What was wrong was the way that other people, including yourselves in this room, were given that information, because that was classified information that was given illegally. That's the real problem.”
Trump's schizoid version of events all squares nicely with White House press secretary Sean Spicer's inane explanation of Flynn’s resignation/firing Tuesday, which all boils down to this:
Flynn didn't do anything wrong but he lied to Mike Pence about it.
So again, why exactly did Michael Flynn lie to Pence if everything he did was above board? In fact, forget Pence—why did Flynn lie to the FBI about his Russian convos if they were so on the up and up?