Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) documents unsealed on Wednesday showed that FBI agents strategized on January 24, 2017, before speaking with former National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Flynn, about getting him to admit to breaking the Logan Act or getting him to lie so that he could be prosecuted or fired.
According to handwritten notes before a planned FBI interaction with Flynn, an unidentified FBI agent wrote: “What’s our goal? Truth/admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?”
The notes showed there was debate that getting Flynn to admit to alleged wrongdoing by showing him evidence was “going easy,” versus prosecuting him or getting him fired.
“We regularly show subjects evidence, with the goal of getting them to admit their wrongdoing. I don’t see how getting someone to admit their wrongdoing is going easy on them,” the agent added.
“If we get him to admit to breaking the Logan Act, give facts to DOJ + have them decide,” the agent wrote. “Or if he initially lies, then we present him [redacted] + he admits it, document for DOJ, + let them decide how to address it.”
“If we’re seen as playing games, WH will be furious,” the agent added. “Protect our institution by not playing games.” WH is likely “White House.”
The author of handwritten notes is likely Bill Priestap, then-head of FBI’s counterintelligence division, according to some reports.
Flynn’s defense lawyer Sidney Powell called the notes evidence of a “perjury trap.”
“The FBI planned it as a perjury trap at best and in so doing put it in writing stating ‘what is our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie so we can prosecute him or get him fired,” Powell told investigative journalist Sara Carter in an interview.
There were also three emails accompanying the handwritten notes, including one from Peter Strzok, then-lead FBI agent in charge of the investigation into the Trump campaign, and Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer who was an adviser to then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
In one of the emails, Strzok gave then-FBI General Counsel Peter Baker a list of questions that Flynn could ask “DD” — likely then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe — during a planned phone call that “DD” should be aware that Flynn could ask him.
Strzok listed one possible scenario where Flynn says: “I can explain all this right now, I did this, this, this.”
Strzok wrote: “Do you shut him down? Hear him out? Conduct the interview if he starts talking? Do you want another agent/witness standing by in case he starts doing this?”
In another email, Page asked someone in the FBI general counsel’s office at what point during an FBI interview should an interviewing agent remind the subject that lying to a federal investigator is a crime.
The newly-unsealed documents were filed to the court last week, after they were discovered by a U.S. attorney general assigned to conduct an independent review of Flynn’s case.
Flynn was charged with lying to investigators after two FBI agents — Strzok and Joe Pientka — interviewed Flynn at the White House on January 24, 2017. Notes from their interview indicated that they did not think Flynn was lying or that he believed he was lying to them.
The FBI was investigating whether Flynn violated the Logan Act — an obscure 1799 law that prohibits private American citizens from interfering in U.S. foreign policy affairs with another country. The law has never been prosecuted before.
Flynn, as incoming national security adviser, had several phone calls with then-U.S. Ambassador to Russia Sergei Kislyak in December. The calls were reportedly picked up during surveillance of Kislyak and illegally leaked to the Washington Post.
Flynn initially denied speaking about U.S. sanctions the Obama administration enacted on Russia to other administration officials, but later resigned after the Post reported that he had spoken about the issue with the then-Russian ambassador.
Flynn pleaded guilty to one charge of lying to investigators during that January 24, 2017, meeting as part of a plea deal but he has since requested to withdraw that guilty plea, citing pressure from prosecutors. Other recently uncovered evidence indicates that prosecutors had made a deal with Flynn to not prosecute his son if he pleaded guilty.
Recent reports indicate that U.S. Attorney John Durham is investigating the illegal leak of Flynn’s conversation to the Post.
After the documents were released Wednesday, Flynn tweeted a video of an American flag waving in the wind:
— General Flynn (@GenFlynn) April 29, 2020
This story has been updated.
Author: Kristina Wong