New internal FBI notes unsealed Wednesday suggest agents deliberated a “goal” of getting Gen. Michael Flynn to lie during a consequential interview that ultimately resulted in his firing from the White House and prosecuted by Robert Mueller’s special counsel team.
The notes, handwritten by the FBI’s former head of counterintelligence Bill Priestap after a meeting with then-FBI Director James Comey and then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, suggest the FBI wanted to draw Flynn into a lie if they could not get Flynn to admit to a violation of the Logan Act, which forbids U.S. citizens from conducting foreign diplomacy without authorization.
A picture of the notes appeared on Twitter Wednesday night, and was retweeted by Molly McCann, an attorney on Flynn’s defense team.
Unsealed FBI notes reveal the intent of the FBI’s 1/24/17 interview of Flynn:
“What is our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute [Flynn] or get him fired?”
FBI Notes confirm it was all a pretext. pic.twitter.com/Y4IDyE4YZm
— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) April 29, 2020
“What is our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?” the note reads, raising the question surrounding the purpose of the FBI interview.
Flynn, a former U.S. Army lieutenant general and director for Defense Intelligence Agency, was brought on by President Donald Trump to act as his incoming National Security Adviser.
The effort to get Flynn to admit a Logan Act violation was predicated on the fact that Flynn spoke to then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition period before Trump formally assumed office. Flynn was not charged with a Logan Act violation, but was later prosecuted by Mueller’s special counsel team for the apparent lie.
According to Fox News, Flynn previously defended that the FBI officials, including McCabe, pressured him to undergo the FBI’s interview without legal counsel present to advise him through the questioning. Flynn eventually plead guilty to the charges in December of 2018, as his legal fees from the case mounted.
In 2019, Flynn went on to hire new legal counsel to represent him, including Sidney Powell, who assessed that Flynn’s former counsel Covington & Burling held conflicts of interest.
In fact, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for President Barrack Obama is currently a partner with the Convington & Burling law firm. At the start of the Trump team’s transition, Obama warned Trump against bringing Flynn onto his administration. According to a 2016 Politico report, Flynn believed he was pressed into early retirement in 2014 by the Obama administration for differing with Obama’s view that the Al Qaeda terror group was close to defeat.
“I interpret the notes as absolutely damning of their conduct and their plan,” Powell said in a Wednesday interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “They rejected the advice of the apparent lawyer who wrote on the handwritten note that they not play games with the White House and instead that is exactly what they did.”
“Their standard practice in other cases [is] to warn of a [Section] 1001 violation [for making false statements to federal investigators],” Powell went on. “None of that applied to General Flynn. They had only special violations, of every protocol known, for him, because they were determined to take him out.”
The issue as to whether Flynn lied also remains contested, despite Flynn’s prior guilty plea.
McCabe recalled “it seemed like [Flynn] was telling the truth” according to an FBI interview report and “had a very good recollection of events, which he related chronologically and lucidly.”
Flynn reportedly told FBI agents “not really” when they asked if he sought Kislyak not to escalate a fight after the outgoing Obama administration placed new sanctions against Russia.
Since the latest revelations of the FBI’s notes broke, footage has resurfaced of an interview between Comey and MSNBC anchor Nicole Wallace, in which Comey appeared to joke that the FBI’s interview tactics and efforts to get Flynn without White House counsel might not have worked if the Trump team weren’t so early on in their transition period.
#DrainTheSwamp– @Comey: I sent them something I probably wouldn’t have done and maybe gotten away with in a more organized investigation… if the FBI wanted to send agents into the White House itself to interview a senior official you would work through the White House counsel. pic.twitter.com/mrZcNMpVy4
— Lou Dobbs (@LouDobbs) December 15, 2018
“Something we, I probably wouldn’t have done or gotten away with in a more organized investigation, a more organized administration, in the George W. Bush administration for example or the Obama administration.” Comey said.The FBI wanted to send agents into the White House itself to interview a senior official. You would work through the White House counsel and there were discussions and approvals and it would be there and I thought, it’s early enough. Let’s just send a couple of guys over.”
The latest notes may add to allegations of a setup by the FBI against Flynn. The notes are the latest documents to
Trump said in March he was considering a presidential pardon for Flynn.
So now it is reported that, after destroying his life & the life of his wonderful family (and many others also), the FBI, working in conjunction with the Justice Department, has “lost” the records of General Michael Flynn. How convenient. I am strongly considering a Full Pardon!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2020
With the latest news, Trump has again tweeted support for his former national security adviser.
What happened to General Michael Flynn, a war hero, should never be allowed to happen to a citizen of the United States again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 30, 2020
“What happened to General Michael Flynn, a war hero, should never be allowed to happen to a citizen of the United States again!,” Trump tweeted.