Special Counsel Robert Mueller turned over the “302” interview report Friday that had been requested by U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in Washington, DC, after Michael Flynn’s defense team claimed he was pressured not to bring a lawyer to his Jan. 24, 2017 interview with FBI agents.
That interview formed the basis for prosecuting Flynn for the crime of lying to FBI, to which he pleaded guilty earlier this year, and which led to further investigations.
In its filing, Mueller’s team urged the judge not to see the “circumstances” of the interview — which the prosecutors appear to admit, tacitly, were unusual — as “mitigating,” arguing that they did not cause Flynn to lie to the FBI. The prosecutors claimed:
The defendant chose to make false statements about his communications with the Russian ambassador weeks before the FBI interview, when he lied about that topic to the media, the incoming Vice President, and other members of the Presidential Transition Team. When faced with the FBI’s questions on January 24, during an interview that was voluntary and cordial, the defendant repeated the same false statements. The Court should reject the defendant’s attempt to minimize the seriousness of those false statements to the FBI.
Prosecutors also handed over several documents requested by the judge. One was a memorandum from then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was later fired on the recommendation of the Department of Justice Inspector General for leaking information to the media and lying under oath about doing so. McCabe urged Flynn that it would be “quickest” if he just spoke to the FBI agents on his own, without involving White House counsel.
Another document was a “302” witness interview report — although the report submitted by prosecutors does not appear to be contemporaneous, but rather a report of an interview with former FBI agent Peter Strzok in August 2017 — seven months after the Flynn interview. Strzok, who was one of the two agents who interviewed Flynn, was questioned about his recollection of the interview with Flynn.
As Sean Davis of The Federalist pointed out, Strzok was interviewed four days after Strzok’s lover, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, was fired from Mueller’s team and just days before he himself would be fired after the affair and the lovers’ political bias against Trump were discovered.
The original 302 report is referenced in the 302 submitted, but it does not appear to have been provided to the court.
The 302 submitted to the court includes a number of interesting revelations, including that the agents decided that they 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” with the agents.
The 302 also notes that Flynn “did not give any indicators of deception,” and that Strzok and the other agent — whose name was redacted, “both had the impression at the time that Flynn was not lying or did not think he was lying.”
That latter impression directly contradicts the statement of then-FBI Director James Comey. Last Friday, as the Wall Street Journal‘s Kimberley Strassel noted, Comey told a House investigative panel under oath that “the conclusion of the investigators was he was obviously lying.”
Comey also bragged last weekend, during a speech at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, that he had taken advantage of the disarray of the first few days of the Trump administration to target Flynn, adding that he would not have done the same to George W. Bush or Barack Obama’s administration:
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.
Comey also told the audience that voters should “use every breath we have” to vote Trump out in the 2020 election.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.