- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 30, 2020

Two lengthy Department of Justice investigations show there never was evidence that retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn conspired in any way in Russian election interference, a fact now coming into play in his bid to have a federal judge throw out his false statements case.

The Washington Times examined more than 900 pages of FBI investigations and witness interviews and found no hint that Flynn ever colluded or attempted to collude with anyone while he served as an adviser for the Trump campaign.

Sidney Powell, his attorney, said Thursday that 11 pages of freshly unsealed DOJ files will help her argument that prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence from his defense despite a judge’s order.

“More evidence that there was no conspiracy or any wrongdoing by Flynn,” Ms. Powell said.

The new documents show the FBI closed the Russia case in early 2017, then reopened it.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican, has asked the Justice Department to turn over the complete Flynn case file.

“Many of my colleagues r rightfully calling for prosecution of ppl who violated Flynn’s constitutional rights MORE IMPORTANTLY the whole country needs to know how his rights were violated TRUTH getting out is most important so this FBI abuse wont be repeated again on someone else,” Mr. Grassley tweeted Thursday.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan unsealed FBI files that had been withheld from Flynn even though Ms. Powell had requested all such documents. It took an attorney general-appointed special investigator, U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Jensen of Missouri, to unearth the material.

In sum, the notes of an unidentified scribe at an FBI strategy session say that the goal for interviewing Flynn was to get him to lie and to get him fired as President Trump’s national security adviser.

Both occurred, but Flynn now wants to withdraw his guilty plea and says he didn’t lie.

“What is our goal?” say the notes, dated Jan. 24, 2017, the day agent Peter Strzok and a colleague went to the White House to interview Flynn. “Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?”

Before Jan. 24, the White House had publicly denied that Flynn had talked about Obama-imposed sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The U.S. intercepted the call. The FBI knew the denial was not true and appeared to anticipate Flynn would deny it to agents face-to-face.

That day, there also was an attempt to get Flynn to admit he had violated the Logan Act, a centuries-old law that has rarely been prosecuted. It prohibits a private citizen from negotiating with foreign governments outside of official U.S. channels on foreign policy.

The Justice Department later determined that Flynn, a transition official at the time, did not violate the law. Flynn’s backers say the fact that the FBI was targeting Flynn under an antiquated law demonstrated its desire to force him to turn on Mr. Trump.

Flynn knew the FBI possessed a transcript of his phone call with Mr. Kislyak. Protocol dictated the FBI provide him a copy, but the agents did not.

Attorney General William Barr told Fox News that the FBI “sabotaged” the Trump White House.

During the election, Mr. Strzok, who has since been fired, sent vitriolic text messages expressing a strong dislike for Mr. Trump and a desire to “stop” him.

The FBI strategy notes state at the beginning, “We have a case on Flynn & Russians.” This is an apparent reference to the fact that in August 2016 Mr. Strzok opened cases against four Trump campaign advisers, including Flynn.

The FBI went on to investigate Flynn for many months for any links to Russian government officials, especially during the campaign.

The Times looked at the voluminous report by special counsel Robert Muller. The examination did not uncover any evidence that Flynn conspired with the Russians in the election — the preeminent subject for Mr. Mueller when he was appointed in May 2017.

Flynn was prosecuted for lying to the FBI on Jan. 24, when he said he had not discussed sanctions with Mr. Kislyak.

In a twist, FBI witnesses later told Congress they did not believe Flynn lied. He also was cited for filing a false Foreign Agents Registration Act report with the Justice Department.

Flynn told Mr. Trump he may have forgotten that he discussed sanctions. He was fired in February 2017 for misleading Vice President Mike Pence.

The Mueller report mentions Flynn more than 600 times. His contacts with foreign governments are not portrayed as in any way illegal.

“Ultimately, the investigation did not establish that the Campaign coordinated or conspired with the Russian government in its election-interference activities,” Mr. Mueller concluded.

The second major Justice Department report was by Inspector General Michael D. Horowitz. He probed FBI abuses in obtaining four electronic and physical spy warrants on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page.

Mr. Horowitz’s report mentions Flynn more than 80 times. There is no indication he conspired with Moscow. The report says the FBI singled out Flynn, a former chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency, because of contacts with Russians.

The FBI justification for opening the case did not cite any evidence.

“The opening EC [electron communication] for the Flynn investigation stated that there was an articulable factual basis that Flynn ‘may wittingly or unwittingly be involved in activity on behalf of the Russian Federation which may constitute a federal crime or threat to the national security,’” the Horowitz report said. “The EC cross-referenced the predication for Crossfire Hurricane and stated that Flynn was an advisor to the Trump campaign, had various ties to state-affiliated entities of Russia, and traveled to Russia in December 2015.”

The FBI agent who headed the probe known was Crossfire Hurricane attended an intelligence briefing for the Trump campaign to specifically surveil Flynn, the report shows.

The agent later told the Horowitz team he attended to observe Flynn’s “overall mannerisms. That overall mannerisms and then also if there was anything specific to Russia, or anything specific to our investigation that was mentioned by him, or quite frankly we had an … investigation, right. And any of the other two individuals in the room, if they, any kind of admission, or overhear, whatever it was, I was there to record that.”

In the end, the FBI never acquired evidence of a Trump conspiracy outside of the Democratic Party-financed dossier which has been largely discredited and included Russian disinformation.

The FBI began receiving dossier memos in September 2016 and used them as the main body of evidence to spy on Mr. Page.

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