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FILE PHOTO: A combination photo shows U.S. President Donald Trump (L), on February 28, 2017, White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (C), February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool, Carlos Barria/File Photo

(reuters_tickers)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Monday his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was being treated unfairly, implicitly criticizing the U.S. special counsel's charges against him even though Flynn pleaded guilty.

"I feel badly for General Flynn," Trump told reporters at the White House, and went on to accuse his Democratic rival in the 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton, of having lied last year.

Flynn, a retired Army general who was a senior adviser in Trump's election campaign, pleaded guilty on Friday to having lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his contacts with the Russian ambassador. He was charged as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the presidential election and possible collusion by Trump campaign aides.

Trump did not provide evidence or detail about his accusation against Clinton. Clinton answered questions in July 2016 about her use of a private server for government emails while she was secretary of state.

There was never any indication from the FBI that Clinton did not tell the truth.

"Hillary Clinton on the 4th of July weekend went to the FBI Not under oath. It was the most incredible thing anyone's ever seen," Trump said. "She lied many times, nothing happened to her. Flynn lied and it's like, they ruined his life. Very unfair."

Moscow has denied interfering in the election and Trump has denied collusion by his campaign.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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Reuters