New documents filed under seal last week by the Department of Justice provide the clearest evidence yet that the investigation and subsequent prosecution of former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was a set-up from the beginning. Handwritten notes from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that had been inappropriately withheld from Flynn’s defense team for years show that a key goal of the agents investigating Flynn was “to get him to lie so we can prosecute him or get him fired.”
In early 2017, FBI agents planned to question Flynn under false pretenses and without his attorneys present regarding his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. At the time of those conversations, Flynn was the top foreign policy adviser of the president-elect of the United States. By the time of the ambush FBI interview, Flynn had already been appointed as the White House national security adviser.
In the handwritten FBI notes, the note-taker, whose identity was not made clear in the document production, wrote that an alternate goal is to “get [Flynn] to admit breaking the Logan Act,” a reference to a 1799 law restricting communications between private citizens and foreign governments. The law is widely viewed as unconstitutional and has never been used to successfully prosecute a single American citizen. The previously secret notes do not explain that Flynn was not a private citizen, but rather the incoming national security adviser at the time of his conversations with world leaders.
Accusations that Flynn was a traitor to his country who violated the 1799 law gained steam following the criminal leak of top-secret information to Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. Ignatius’ sources suggested the routine conversation between a top incoming White House adviser and his foreign counterparts might be a Logan Act violation. As absurd as the suggestion was, Ignatius dutifully parroted it.
News reports indicate U.S. Attorney John Durham is currently investigating the sources of those criminal leaks of top secret national security information to Ignatius. Although the agents who interviewed Flynn initially stated they believed Flynn told them the truth during the Jan. 24 interview, Special Counsel Robert Mueller nonetheless charged Flynn in late 2017 with making false statements to FBI investigators in the interview.
Flynn pleaded guilty to the charge at the time but is currently trying to withdraw that plea, citing ineffective counsel and government corruption in the conduct of his case.
The explosive new documents support Flynn’s latest claims that Obama-era Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI officials had conspired to set him up from the beginning and that they never had any legitimate basis for investigating him.
The author of the handwritten notes filed under seal last week also wrote, “We have a case on Flynn and Russians,” and “our goal is to resolve case.” Despite those claims of treasonous Russian collusion, Mueller found, after a sprawling, multi-year, multimillion-dollar investigation, that there was zero evidence of illegal collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to steal the 2016 election from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
In reality, the only Russian collusion that happened during the 2016 campaign was between the Clinton campaign and a subcontractor it funded, who was at the time working on behalf of a sanctioned Russian oligarch. That agent, former British intelligence operative Christopher Steele, created for the Clinton campaign the entire basis for charges of illegal collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. That document, known as the Steele dossier, has been thoroughly debunked since it was first released in early January 2017. The Clinton campaign, in cooperation with the Democratic National Committee, secretly funded the creation of that document and its distribution throughout the media. To date, none of its key collusion claims has been corroborated.
Steele’s operation became a primary basis for the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation of the Trump campaign. The false allegations contained in the dossier were also used by FBI and DOJ officials to justify four separate spy warrants against Carter Page, a Trump campaign affiliate. The FBI also investigated Flynn as part of this operation.
The FBI notes also show that the author of the document had misgivings about the FBI’s conduct in interviewing Flynn.
“I agreed yesterday that we shouldn’t show Flynn [REDACTED] if he didn’t admit,” the FBI author wrote. “I thought [about] it last night, [and] I believe we should rethink this.”
“We regularly show subjects evidence, with the goal of getting them to admit wrongdoing,” the notes said. “I don’t see how getting someone to admit their wrongdoing is going easy on him.”
The redaction portion of the notes is believed to reference transcripts of phone calls between Flynn and other foreign officials. Those transcripts have never been publicly released, making it impossible to independently assess whether Flynn lied about those conversations.
The handwritten FBI notes end with a prophetic line, given the voluminous evidence of misconduct by FBI and DOJ officials in their investigation of Trump and their attempt to oust him from office.
“If we’re seen as playing games, [the White House] will be furious,” the author wrote. “Protect our institution by not playing games.”
Flynn is awaiting a ruling on his motion to have the entire case dismissed. You can read the documents unsealed and made available on the public court docket earlier this evening here.