Bombshell documents unsealed late Wednesday revealed that top FBI officials viewed the goal of interviewing former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in 2017 was to “get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired.”
A handwritten note included in the documents disclosed that agents wanted to get Flynn to “admit breaking the Logan Act,” which restricts communication between private citizens and foreign governments, and catch him in a lie.
The Logan Act is an arcane federal law restricting communication between private U.S. citizens and foreign governments.
It is not immediately clear who authored the note, but Fox News reported it was written by former FBI general counsel James A. Baker.
The new revelations boost Flynn’s effort to unravel the government’s case against him. He pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his conversations with a former Russian ambassador about sanctions on the country, but in January he told a federal judge he “was innocent of this crime.”
He filed to withdraw his guilty plea after the Justice Department requested a sentence of up to six months in prison, although the department later relented admitting probation would be appropriate.
DOCUMENT: Unsealed documents from Michael Flynn's case
The newly unearthed documents raise questions about whether the Justice Department had turned over all of its exculpatory evidence to Flynn before he pleaded guilty.
Last week, the Justice Department said it turned over several documents to the legal team that had been discovered in a review ordered by Attorney General William P. Barr. It is not clear if the documents made public Wednesday are among the trove of records the Justice Department provided.
The documents made public Wednesday were among the materials provided to Flynn’s team.
Mr. Barr in February appointed Jeffrey Jensen, the U.S. attorney in St. Louis, to examine the Flynn case. The documents unsealed Wednesday are evidence that that probe has produced results for Flynn’s legal team.
Included in the documents Wednesday is an email exchange between ex-FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who found themselves in the public eye after their anti-Trump texts became public.
In the exchange, Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page discussed how the interviews should approach telling Flynn that lying to the FBI is a federal crime.
Ms. Page suggests that if FBI policy supports it, the agents should just casually mention it during the interview.
“[I]t would be an easy way to just casually slip that in,” she wrote. “Of course as you know sir, federal law makes it a crime to …”
The FBI’s 2017 interview with Flynn has always been a source of contention in the case. Even the bureau’s top brass have admitted the interview raised questions.
Former FBI Director James B. Comey admitted in 2018 that the interview didn’t follow the bureau’s protocol. Then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe described the interview as “very odd” because it appeared that Flynn was telling the truth.
Flynn has always insisted he never said anything untrue to the FBI in the interview, in which the government maintains he denied discussing sanctions with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition.
“I did not lie to them. I believed I was honest with them to the best of my recollection,” he wrote in a January legal filing.
Flynn admitted in the same filing he didn’t remember if he discussed sanctions with the ambassador.
But in 2017, he offered no rebuttal to prosecutors’ claims that he told a series of falsehoods to the FBI. In fact, Flynn told a federal judge he had violated the law at his plea hearing.
More documents in the case could be unsealed this week. Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell said last week her team “found further evidence of misconduct” by prosecutors including “baseless threats” to indict Flynn.