According to a reporter who claims to have seen it first hand, an official White House memo exists that explained why Paul Manafort was being investigated by federal officials. This memo pre-dates Trump’s infamous talk with Comey about “going easy on Flynn,” and if the memo is legit, there’s virtually no way that Trump can argue his way out of obstruction of justice charges. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this.


The trial of Paul Manafort got underway this week and pretty much as soon as people stepped into that courtroom, Donald trump went crazy on Twitter. Started talking about, “Oh, Manafort, I didn’t know, I didn’t know this, I didn’t know this…” But what Donald Trump was talking about though, had more to do with Michael Flynn. He wasn’t trying to talk about Manafort, he didn’t want to draw attention to that, he was trying to lay the groundwork for him not knowing that Michael Flynn was under investigation for all of the things he’s been under investigation for, and that he now is going to stand trial for in the coming weeks.

Here’s what he did. He used the same argument that his legal team has been saying from the beginning. When Donald Trump asked James Comey, who then was the FBI director, to let it go, to go easy on Michael Flynn, they say that Donald Trump had no idea whatsoever that Flynn was under investigation. Which is odd, that you would ask an investigator to let your guy go, if you didn’t know he was under investigation. Very weird, right?

Well, as it turns out, that could be obstruction of justice, if he knew Flynn was under investigation and asked Comey to go easy on him in the investigation. That 100% is obstruction of justice. It just hinges on whether or not the president did actually know that Michael Flynn was under investigation. And, according to a report by the New York Review of Books, there exists a White House memo, that actually shows that yes, Donald Trump knew that Michael Flynn was under investigation. The memo, dated January 26, 2017, mentions that both former White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and Donald Trump lawyer, Don McGahn, had told Donald Trump in January, January 26, 2017, that Flynn was under investigation. Then, February 14, 2017, a few weeks later, is when Trump had the meeting with Comey where he said let it go.

So, if this memo exists, it 100% proves that Donald Trump obstructed justice. There is no way that he couldn’t have known Flynn was under investigation if this memo is authentic, and he then committed obstruction of justice. Furthermore, according to reports, both Priebus and McGahn have testified to Robert Mueller that they informed Donald Trump of Flynn’s investigation prior to Donald Trump asking Comey to quote, let it go. Mueller has the info, he has the memo, if it exists, and he knows what actually happened and he knows the time line. Which is likely why Donald Trump is freaking out on twitter this week, telling us that he had no idea Flynn was under investigation. He asked why, “Why didn’t somebody in the government tell me Flynn was under investigation?” Except, that was one of the very first things that actually happened under your administration, was that your own government came and told you, “Hey, Michael Flynn is under investigation.”

And this entire obstruction case, at least in that instance, because there are other instances of obstruction happening, at least in this one, everything hinges on the fact that your officials told you Flynn was under investigation, and with that knowledge, you asked the investigators to let it go.

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at He is the co-host / guest host for Ring of Fire Radio. His writings have appeared on Alternet, Truthout, and The Huffington Post. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced