Not to be “naive” [sic], but there’s a world of difference between your boss saying “I hope this turns out okay.” Or, “I hope he didn’t do anything wrong.”, and instead saying, “He’s a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
Which directly translates to: “He’s a good guy and regardless of whether or not there’s anything there, I’d really, really, really like you to stop investing him.”
The President can’t directly order the head of the FBI to stop an investigation. Nor is he (despite most outward appearances) stupid enough to try.
He can, however, make his wishes known and “hope you can let just it go.”
Nor was he asking for “leniency”. He didn’t say, “I hope you can go easy on him.” He was asking the head of the FBI to “let it go”. Let. It. Go.
And Flynn was being “dishonest” (nice softening of the word there, much better than “lying”) during an investigation into potential treason.
One can only imagine the firestorm of protest we’d have had Putin decided he didn’t want an unstable blowhard as President and had “leaked” enough information about Trump to sway the election the other way.
Instead, Russia worked to ensure that we now have a leader that’s easily baited, manipulated, and largely ineffectual.
Just like they wanted.