December 4, 2017
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump's personal lawyer, John Dowd, says he wrote the tweet Trump sent out Saturday in which he said he "had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI," and Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser, "has pled guilty to those lies." Many observers were skeptical that a seasoned lawyer like Dowd would have written a tweet that legal analysts say could amount to an admission of obstruction of justice (and that used "pled" instead of "pleaded"), but Dowd insisted to The Washington Post that he had drafted the tweet, called it sloppily worded, and said, "I'm out of the tweeting business."

Trump ousted Flynn on Feb. 13, more than two weeks after acting Attorney General Sally Yates had warned White House Counsel Don McGahn that Flynn had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about a phone call to the Russian ambassador. The Washington Post reported Feb. 16 that Flynn had also lied to the FBI, a felony — two days after former FBI Director James Comey says Trump privately asked him to drop the Flynn investigation; Trump fired Comey in May. Dowd told the Post that Trump knew in late January that Flynn had probably given the same false information to the FBI as he had to Pence, but said the Justice Department "was not accusing him of lying."

Legally, it doesn't really matter if Dowd wrote the tweet, former federal prosecutor Barak Cohen tells the Post. "If President Trump sends it, then Trump has adopted it. It's his statement," he said, and "it bolsters the intent for committing obstruction." A person close to the White House told the Post that the tweet was "a screw-up of historic proportions" that has "caused enormous consternation in the White House." Trying to curb Trump's tweeting is "a lost cause," a senior administration official tells Politico. Peter Weber

November 29, 2017
Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

In between tweets attacking "Fake News CNN," lauding the stock market, and commenting on Matt Lauer's firing, President Trump retweeted three videos Wednesday morning from Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain's far-right, anti-immigrant Britain First group. The videos purport to show Muslims killing a boy, beating up a Dutch youth on crutches, and destroying a statue of the Virgin Mary. Fransen, 31, is on bail and facing four charges of religiously aggravated harassment for yelling insults at a Muslim woman in front of her children during a "Christian patrol." She celebrated the attention from the American president, tweeting: "God bless you Trump! God bless America!" Peter Weber

November 20, 2017
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

On Thursday night, President Trump fired off a crude tweet about sexual harassment claims against Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and the photo of him posing with his hands over a sleeping woman's breasts — despite the clear echoes with Trump's own hot-mic confession to groping multiple women. On Sunday night and Monday morning, Trump tweeted that he should have left three black college basketball players in jail in China because one of their fathers had failed to thank him for interceding, criticized a black NFL player over an anthem protest, insulted Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and predicted he would vote against the Senate GOP tax bill, and suggested that China's punishment of 5-10 years in jail for shoplifting is "as it should be."

"What Trump may not realize — and what new data shows — is that he may be tweeting his way into losses in 2018 and 2020," Democratic strategist Jim Messina writes in Politico Magazine. Advisers during the campaign and lawyers in the early days of his administration tried to set parameters on Trump's Twitter habit, but "none of the advice seemed to have any lasting effect on a president who views acting on his own impulses as a virtue," reports Annie Karni at Politico. "And these days, the staff has basically stopped trying: There is no character inhabiting the West Wing who is dispatched to counsel the president when he aims the powerful weapon of his Twitter feed at himself."

The Franken tweet, while putting White House officials on the spot all weekend, isn't even among "the high-water marks of self-destructive Trump tweets," Karni says. A former Trump administration official said Trump's tweet-attacks are par for the course for a "White House with a sub-40 job approval rating with a tough midterm cycle ahead. It doesn't matter if there are vulnerabilities on their own side: They're going to take anything they can get." Or at least get it while he can. Peter Weber

October 31, 2017

On Twitter Tuesday night, President Trump said he has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to "step up our already Extreme Vetting Program."

Trump made the announcement in the wake of Tuesday afternoon's truck attack in New York City, when a suspect, a 29-year-old man from Uzbekistan, drove a truck onto a busy bike path in lower Manhattan, killing eight people. The suspect came to the United States in 2010, law enforcement officials said. The Trump administration has called for a travel ban against citizens from seven countries; Uzbekistan is not on the list. Catherine Garcia

October 31, 2017
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Following the truck attack in Manhattan that left at least eight people dead and more than a dozen injured, President Trump tweeted Tuesday evening about the Islamic State, saying militants "must not" be let into the United States.

"We must not allow ISIS to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere," Trump said. "Enough!" It was his second tweet on the incident; about an hour earlier, he wrote, "In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person. Law enforcement is following this closely. NOT IN THE U.S.A.!" Several minutes after his tweet about ISIS, Trump followed up with: "My thoughts, condolences, and prayers to the victims and families of the New York City terrorist attack. God and your country are with you!"

Police say a 29-year-old man drove his rented truck down a bike path in lower Manhattan, hitting several pedestrians before ramming into a school bus. The suspect then exited the vehicle, carrying "imitation firearms," and was shot by police. The suspect is in custody, being treated at a nearby hospital. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that based on the information available, "this was an act of terror," but no terror organization has claimed responsibility yet for the incident. Catherine Garcia

October 12, 2017

After threatening to cancel NBC's "license" up until late Wednesday (presidents can't do that, as an FCC commissioner noted), President Trump began Thursday on Twitter by appearing to tell Puerto Rico that its slow but steady federal relief effort after its worst hurricane in a century had a pending expiration date.

It isn't clear what prompted Trump's tweets about the U.S. territory, where 35 percent of residents still don't have drinking water and 10 percent have electricity. But on Thursday, the House will vote on a $36.5 billion emergency spending bill for the areas hit by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria that includes $5.05 billion in loans for Puerto Rico to cover immediate liquidity needs, plus $18.7 billion for FEMA, and $16 billion for the National Flood Insurance Program. That $16 billion, The Intercept notes, is essentially debt relief for homeowners who built in at-risk coastal areas. Peter Weber

October 10, 2017

Because Washington is now a reality TV show performed on social media, President Trump suggested in a tweet early Tuesday that he would send health-care reform to the next round "using the power of the pen." Other than saying he would "give great HealthCare to many people — FAST," Trump did not provide any details.

Over the weekend, The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump is planning executive orders to undo some of the health-care regulations his predecessor, Barack Obama, enacted, including "broad instructions for agencies to explore ways to loosen regulations and potentially lower premiums." The thrust of the rule changes, Jonathan Cohn reports at HuffPost, would be to "undermine the rules that guarantee comprehensive coverage to people with pre-existing conditions," adding, "Just how far the administration can take this effort is not clear."

"In the worst-case scenario," Cohn writes, "Trump's executive action could destabilize insurance markets ― making coverage much more expensive or even unavailable to some small businesses and individuals, especially those with serious medical problems, even as it would make coverage cheaper for others in relatively good health." Trump said he would give health care to "many people," not more people. Peter Weber

August 11, 2017

If you woke up on Friday hoping that President Trump might be thinking about de-escalating the tensions with North Korea, it may be best to hit the snooze button on your alarm clock. In his latest provocative tweet, Trump borrowed from the language of the NRA to send Kim Jong Un a message.

Based on North Korea's recent history, it's unlikely that raising the stakes will get Kim to "find another path," unless that path is a face-saving off-ramp from this growing nuclear confrontation. On the other hand, it's nice to know that America's nuclear arsenal is still locked down. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads