That's what I mean: It's not going to end with Flynn.
But I thought Trump fired Flynn for lying to Pence about contact with the Russians. Now they think someone close to Trump gave the order?
The devil's kind of in the details on this one, but of course it feels like it's been a million years since the original Flynn scandal, so here we go! *clears throat*
The original reports to the public on Flynn's communications with Kislyak, and his lies to the Vice President on their content, came from the media. (At the time I believe it was rumored, but not confirmed, that he had also lied to the FBI, though my memory could be leading me astray there.) Obviously this caused a great deal of political pressure, and public scrutiny, with regards to Flynn's position and the possibility that he'd been compromised. Trump finally did finally reportedly ask for Flynn's resignation. Ultimately, though, he seemed more irritated at the leaks that had led to the news report than anything Flynn himself had done; Spicer at one point made it clear that Trump did not believe Mr Flynn had breached law, and his being let go was more an issue of 'trust.'
But okay, Trump asks for his resignation after news of the problem broke, all was well... until a little later, when it emerged that Trump had actually already known about Flynn's lie quite a few days prior, and did dick all about it. It was flagged for his attention by at-the-time acting attorney general Sally Yates, who discovered the issue and informed Trump about it, largely because there was a risk that the falsehoods could make Flynn vulnerable to blackmail by a foreign power.
To be more specific, the Department of Justice made their report to Trump about Flynn on January 26th; Trump gets around to telling Pence about it around 11 days later, as the matter was starting to heat up in the public eye. On February 8th, Flynn flatly denied discussing Sanctions with Russia in response to reports given by various media outlets, only to change his answer to 'I don't remember' on the 9th when it was revealed U.S. intelligence had actually recorded the call. His resignation finally hit on February 13th, soon after fresh reports from the media discussed his communications with Kislyak, and detailed that he had 'misled' the Vice President about them.
The timing of it raised more than a few eyebrows, and asked a rather clear question; Trump knew what Flynn had done weeks before he finally fired the guy for it. So did Trump fire Flynn because of what he had done, or because too many people found out about it?
It's not like Trump is slow to pull the trigger when it comes to letting people go. (Just look at how fast he fired Yates when she wouldn't immediately defend his travel ban.) And yet ultimately he took absolutely forever to get Flynn's resignation, which came right around the time it became clear that Flynn wasn't going to be able to weasel out of this, and public scrutiny was nearing its peak.
Now, this is speculation on my part, obviously, but Flynn's statement would actually fit pretty well with how things went down back in February. Trump obviously wouldn't have had a 'trust issue' with Flynn if the man's actions were carried out at the behest of Trump's transition team. He would have known about it before Yates even made the report, and would know that Flynn was indeed loyal to him. As long as the press or public didn't get wind of it, both Flynn and Trump would have been better served just denying everything in the case of Flynn, and quietly sitting on the report without taking action in the case of Trump, which they both seemed prepared to do.
But then it got leaked to the press, and from there to the public, and finally Flynn's attempt to deny everything shriveled up in the face of the revelation the intelligence community actually had solid information on the details of his phone call. The situation ultimately became untenable; there would simply be no way to keep Flynn, with everyone KNOWING what he'd done, without raising some big questions about just why Trump was protecting him.
And so Trump finally asked for his resignation, but there were still loose ends. For one thing, there were agencies still digging into the details of just what Flynn had done, who he had done it for, etc, wanting to see just how deep the rabbit hole went. If said rabbit hole led to the doorstep of Trump's transition team or, God forbid, Trump himself... well, that would be REALLY bad for him. So Trump tried to quietly quash these efforts by, in at least one case, flatly telling Comey that he really hoped he'd just let Flynn go, and drop the investigation. Comey didn't, and Trump eventually fired him, a sequence of events that ironically led to the Mueller investigation, and brings us to where we are now.