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The US Justice Department filed a motion to drop its case Thursday against former national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to reports from Associated Press and Reuters.
In 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI during a January 2017 interview.
Then special counsel Robert Mueller was investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
FBI discussed interviewing Michael Flynn ‘to get him to lie’ and ‘get him fired,’ handwritten notes show, according to Fox News.
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 questioned if their “goal” was “to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired.”
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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 — further suggested that agents planned in the alternative to get Flynn “to admit to breaking the Logan Act” when he spoke to then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition period.
“What is our goal?” one of the notes read. “Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?”
Michael Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell said the handwritten notes are devastating evidence of an effort to disregard all standing protocols and rules.
“If we get him to admit to breaking the Logan Act, give facts to DOJ + have them decide,” a note read.
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In an initial sentencing memo, prosecutors praised the former national security adviser and asked for little to no jail time, citing the “substantial assistance” he provided to not only the Russia probe, but separate, ongoing investigations.
However, Flynn shook up his legal team last June and his new defense lawyer, Sidney Powell, took a more combative stance, accusing the government of prosecutorial misconduct and entrapment.
Specifically, Powell accused the FBI of manipulating official records of Flynn’s January 2017 FBI interview in which he misled investigators. The Justice Department pushed back on Powell’s accusations in a separate filing last year.
In Thursday’s filing announcing it would drop the case, however, the department said it “is not persuaded that the January 24, 2017 interview was conducted with a legitimate investigative basis and therefore does not beleive Mr. Flynn’s statements were material even if untrue.”
“Moreover, we not believe that the Government can prove either the relevant false statements or their materiality beyond a reasonable doubt,” the filing said.
Law professor Jonathan Turley called the documents “chilling.”
“I don’t see how getting someone to admit their wrongdoing is going easy on him,” one note reads. Flynn did not ultimately admit to wrongdoing in the interview.
The document shows that the agents discussed the “by-the-book approach”: “If we’re seen as playing games, WH [White House] will be furious.”
Comey admitted in 2018 that the Flynn interview at the White House didn’t follow protocol and came at his direction.
Comey explained that it was not “something I probably wouldn’t have done or maybe gotten away with in a more… organized administration.”
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
The bombshell materials strongly suggested the agents weren’t truly concerned about Flynn’s intercepted contacts with Kislyak during the presidential transition period, 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 2014.
“It’s just absolutely appalling what these agents, and then special counsel operatives, did to General Flynn,” Powell told Fox News’ “Hannity” on Wednesday night. “It’s abuse of their authority at every turn.”
“I interpret the notes as absolutely damning of their conduct and their plan,” Powell went on. “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.
I miss the days where you could execute those for treason.
— AdamTheyWong (@TheyAdam) April 29, 2020