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Wednesday, April 29, 2020
FBI discussed interviewing Michael Flynn 'to get him to lie' and 'get him fired,' handwritten notes show
Explosive new internal FBI documents unsealed Wednesday
show that top bureau officials discussed their motivations for interviewing
then-national security adviser Michael Flynn in the
White House in January 2017 -- and openly indicated
that their "goal" was "to get him to lie, so we can
prosecute him or get him fired."
The handwritten notes --
written 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, Fox News is told -- indicated that agents planned to get
Flynn “to admit to breaking the Logan Act” and catch him in a lie. The Logan
Act is an obscure statute that has never been used in a criminal prosecution;
enacted in 1799, it was intended to prevent individuals from falsely claiming
to represent the United States abroad in an era before telephones.
“What is our goal?" one of the notes reads.
"Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get
The bombshell documents strongly suggested the
agents weren't truly concerned about Flynn's intercepted contacts with
then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, except as a pretext. Former President
Obama personally had warned the Trump administration against hiring Flynn, and
made clear he was "not a fan," according to multiple
officials. Obama fired Flynn as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in
The Justice Department turned over the documents just
this week, even though a February 2018 standing order in the case required the
government to turn over any exculpatory materials in its possession that
pertained to Flynn. Fox News is told even more exculpatory documents are
Flynn previously charged that top FBI officials,
including McCabe, pressed him not to have the White
House counsel present during the questioning with two agents that ultimately
led to his guilty plea on a single charge of lying to federal authorities. One
of those agents was Peter Strzok, who has since been fired from the bureau
after his anti-Trump text messages came
Flynn has withdrawn his guilty plea and has been seeking exoneration,
saying the FBI engaged in "egregious misconduct." Flynn, who now says
he did not lie to the FBI, pleaded guilty in late 2017 as mounting legal
fees pushed him to sell his home.
Flynn has since obtained new counsel -- and his old attorneys, it emerged this week, then failed
to turn over thousands of documents to his new lawyer, Sidney Powell. Powell
has charged that Flynn's old
lawyers at Covington & Burling had conflicts of interest and were
otherwise ineffective, including by not focusing on Strzok's evident bias.
Strzok wasn't the only top FBI official who apparently
bent the rules in targeting Flynn. Comey admitted in 2018 that the
fateful Flynn interview at the White House didn't follow protocol, and
came at his direction. He said it was not "something I probably
wouldn't have done or maybe gotten away with in a more... organized
McCabe later said the interview was "very
odd" because "it seemed like [Flynn] was telling the truth" to
the two agents who interviewed him. Flynn, the interviewing agents told McCabe,
"had a very good recollection of events, which he related chronologically
and lucidly," did not appear to be "nervous or sweating," and
did not look "side to side" -- all of which would have been
"behavioral signs of deception."
During the interview, Flynn told the agents "not really" when asked if
he had sought to convince Kislyak not to escalate a brewing fight with the U.S.
over sanctions imposed by the Obama administration, according to a FD-302 witness report prepared
by the FBI. Flynn also demurred when asked if he had asked Russia to veto a
U.N. Security Council resolution that condemned Israel’s settlements in
the West Bank. (The Obama administration abstained in
that vote, which Republicans characterized as a betrayal of a close
Flynn issued other apparently equivocal responses to FBI agents'
questions, and at various points suggested that such conversations
might have happened or that he could not recall them if they did, according to
the 302. The 302 indicated that Flynn was apparently aware his
communications had been monitored, and at several points he thanks the FBI
agents for reminding him of some of his conversations with Russian officials.
The article offered further support for Flynn's claim
that he was on notice that the FBI was aware of the contents of his
communications with Russia even before the interview, and raised the question
of why the FBI would want to ask Flynn about those communications. Flynn
has indicated in court filings that he was apprehensive about potentially
disclosing classified information to the agents.
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.
The documents also revealed that ex-FBI lawyer Lisa Page
emailed Strzok concerning how to conduct the Flynn interview.
Strzok and Page regularly texted to each other about
their shared disdain for Trump, and affection for Clinton, even as they worked
on investigations involving both Clinton and Trump.
The revelations come as the Justice Department has separately revealed that the FBI's
investigation into former Trump aide Carter Page was riddled with major errors
-- and even featured an ex-FBI attorney doctoring an email from the CIA to make
it seem as though Page's Russian contacts were nefarious.
In fact, Page was an informant to the CIA about those
contacts -- a key detail the FBI omitted when it told the surveillance court
about Page's overseas trips.