Top officials from the Obama-era U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) privately told Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller that they were concerned about the FBI’s conduct in investigating President Donald Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn.
Breaking: Senior Obama DOJ officials privately told Mueller they were alarmed by FBI treatment of Flynn, memos show. Believed threat of Logan Act prosecution was a "stretch" and Flynn was not properly allowed to have legal counsel. https://t.co/4Z2FuoPPjX
— John Solomon (@jsolomonReports) March 16, 2020
The officials suggested that retired Lt. Gen. Flynn did not lie to the FBI about his dealings with Russia despite claims to the contrary and added credence to assertions that the DOJ coerced the former White House official into making a guilty plea on a charge of lying to the bureau.
Mueller’s Russia collusion hoax investigation led to Flynn making a guilty plea for allegedly lying to the FBI, which resulted in a conviction.
Flynn’s defense lawyer, Sidney Powell, however, has officially requested to withdraw the retired general’s guilty plea on lying to the FBI and have the case dismissed.
Over the weekend, President Donald Trump said he is “strongly considering” offering Flynn a full pardon.
Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates is one of the officials who raised concerns about the FBI investigators’ treatment of Flynn, the Just the News outlet founded by award-winning investigative journalist John Solomon revealed on Monday.
Specifically, during her short stint as attorney general, Yates, an Obama holdover, reportedly complained to the Muller team about a January 24, 2017 effort by the FBI to interview Flynn about his dealings with Russia without letting the former White House official know he was under investigation.
A May 2018 letter from the Mueller team to the retired general’s lawyers highlights Yates’ concerns.
“Yates said it was not always clear what exactly the FBI was doing to investigate Flynn,” the letter stated.
According to Yates, the Mueller team briefed her about the Flynn interview the day after she raised concerns, particularly about the FBI’s focus on whether the retired general remembered talking to a Russian official about sanctions.
The Mueller team’s letter to Flynn’s lawyers noted:
Flynn denied having a conversation about sanctions. Yates did not speak to the interviewing agents herself, but understood from others that the interviewing agents’ assessment was that Flynn showed no ‘tells’ of lying, and it was possible he really did not remember the substance of his calls with [Russian] Ambassador [Sergey] Kislyak.
The comments the Muller team’s letter attributes to Yates mark a stark difference from what she told CNN in May 2017 — that Flynn was in a “serious compromise situation, that the Russians had real leverage over him.”
Former Acting AG Sally Yates once declared Mike Flynn Russia compromised. But in private, she and other Obama DOJ officials told Mueller they were concerned by FBI treatment of Flynn. One even thought prosecuting him under Logan Act was a “stretch.” https://t.co/4Z2FuoPPjX
— John Solomon (@jsolomonReports) March 17, 2020
Remarks made by other DOJ officials further compound the concerns that the FBI lured Flynn into a perjury trap, Just the News pointed out.
Among those officials are former Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord and former Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Matthew Axelrod.
McCord and Axelrod indicated that Flynn told FBI investigators the truth.
Citing DOJ memos, Just the News reported:
The documents, which include a letter from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team transmitting exculpatory evidence to Flynn’s defense lawyers in 2018, offer the most detailed montage to date about why Attorney General Bill Barr recently appointed a special prosecutor to review the government’s actions in the Flynn case.
Among other things, the correspondence shows:
- Mueller’s team accepted Flynn’s guilty plea on a charge of lying about his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak even though agents told DOJ they thought the former general was not lying and simply had a faulty memory.
- DOJ officials believed the threat the FBI was using to prosecute Flynn under an obscure law known as the Logan Act was a “stretch.”
- Flynn was lured by the FBI into a fateful interview with agents believing he was not in legal jeopardy, which caused him not to seek a lawyer.
- Some of the DOJ officials’ assessments to the Mueller team were backed up by former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe.
The documents fuel the assertions by Flynn’s lawyer Sidney Powell that the retired lieutenant general should be allowed to withdraw his 2018 guilty plea because the DOJ coerced him into making it.
Last month, AG Barr installed a federal prosecutor from outside the U.S. attorney’s office in the U.S. capital to review the criminal case leveled against Flynn.
Barr’s decision to appoint the prosecutor came after the DOJ inspector general (IG) exposed a string of abuses by the FBI in obtaining Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) wiretaps on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The wiretaps were part of Mueller’s Russia collusion hoax probe.