The memo alleges FBI agents, including McCabe and Strzok, intentionally mislead Flynn during initial questioning
A sentencing memo released Tuesday night has thrown a kink in the investigation of Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
In the memo issued by Flynn’s attorneys are allegations that the FBI intentionally lied to Flynn about the necessity of having representation during their initial interview as well as an alleged effort to intentionally omit the consequences of lying to FBI agents during what was allegedly made out to be a casual conversation.
Involved in the initial conversations with Flynn were now Former Deputy Director McCabe and former FBI agent Strzok. Both agents have since been fired from the FBI for various improprieties.
From the WSJ:
Mr. Flynn’s filing doesn’t take issue with the description of his offense. But the “additional facts” the Flynn defense team flags for the court raise doubts about FBI conduct.
The Flynn filing describes government documents concerning the Jan. 24, 2017 meeting with two FBI agents when Mr. Flynn supposedly lied. It turns out the meeting was set up by then Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who personally called Mr. Flynn that day on other business—to discuss an FBI training session. By Mr. McCabe’s account, on that call he told Mr. Flynn he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” with him to talk about his Russia communications.
Mr. McCabe then urged Mr. Flynn to meet without a lawyer present. “I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [Mr. Flynn] and the agents only. I further stated that if LTG Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House Counsel for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. [Mr. Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants,” wrote Mr. McCabe in a memo viewed by the Flynn defense team.
According to the FBI summary of the interview—known as a 302—Mr. McCabe and FBI officials “decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport.”
We also know from then FBI Director James Comey that this was his idea. This is “something I probably wouldn’t have done or wouldn’t have gotten away with in a more organized administration,” Mr. Comey boasted on MSNBC this weekend. “In the George W. Bush Administration or the Obama Administration, 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, there would be discussions and approvals and who would be there. And I thought, it’s early enough let’s just send a couple guys over.”
The key portion of the memo in full:
At 12:35 p.m. on January 24, 2017, the first Tuesday after the presidential inauguration, General Flynn received a phone call from then-Deputy Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, on a secure phone in his office in the West Wing.20 General Flynn had for many years been accustomed to working in cooperation with the FBI on matters of national security. He and Mr. McCabe briefly discussed a security training session the FBI had recently conducted at the White House before Mr. McCabe, by his own account, stated that he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” with General Flynn to talk about his communications with Russian representatives.21
Mr. McCabe’s account states: “I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [General Flynn] and the agents only. I further stated that if LTG Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House Counsel for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. [General Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants.”22
Less than two hours later, at 2:15 p.m., FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok and a second FBI agent arrived at the White House to interview General Flynn.23 By the agents’ account, General Flynn was “relaxed and jocular” and offered to give the agents “a little tour” of the area around his West Wing office. 24 The agents did not provide General Flynn with a warning of the penalties for making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. § 1001 before, during, or after the interview. Prior to the FBI’s interview of General Flynn, Mr. McCabe and other FBI officials “decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed, and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport,” one of the agents reported.25 Before the interview, FBI officials had also decided that, if “Flynn said he did not remember something they knew he said, they would use the exact words Flynn used, . . . to try to refresh his recollection. If Flynn still would not confirm what he said, . . . they would not confront him or talk him through it.”26 One of the agents reported that General Flynn was “unguarded” during the interview and “clearly saw the FBI agents as allies.”27
Wednesday night, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered Mueller’s team to hand over documents germane to the revelations by mid-day Friday. From Sara Carter:
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office Wednesday night to turn over all the government’s documents by mid-day Friday. The exculpatory documents requested by Sullivan include any memorandums regarding Flynn’s case because of the extraordinary circumstances of the information, according to Sullivan’s request. Further, Sullivan is also requesting any documentation regarding the first interviews conducted by former anti-Trump agent Peter Strzok and FBI Agent Joe Pientka -known by the FBI as 302s- which were found to be dated more than seven months after the interviews were conducted on Jan. 24, 2017, a violation of FBI policy, say current and former FBI officials familiar with the process. According to information contained in Flynn’s memorandum, the interviews were dated Aug. 22, 2017.
FBI Supervisory Special Agent Jeff Danik told SaraACarter.com Sullivan must also request all the communications between the two agents, as well as their supervisors around the August 2017 time-frame in order to get a complete and accurate picture of what transpired. Danik, who is an expert in FBI policy, says it is imperative that Sullivan also request “the workflow chart, which would show one-hundred percent, when the 302s were created when they were sent to a supervisor and who approved them.”
“The bureau policy – the absolute FBI policy – is that the notes must be placed in the system in a 1-A file within five days of the interview,” said Danik, who added that handwritten notes get placed into the FBI Sentinel System, which is the FBI’s main record keeping system. “Anything beyond five business days is a problem, eight months is a disaster.”
“In a case of this magnitude there is no question what is going on,” said Danik. “These agents went in the White House and had a case with a possible witness of his stature and didn’t write it up until almost eight months later? That is is unconscionable – it’s not fair to the defendant and absolutely goes against FBI policy.”
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