Trump–Russia Probe: New notes reveal FBI discussed questioning Flynn 'to get him to lie' and 'get him fired’
Ø On Wednesday, new FBI documents were released showing that top FBI officials discussed their objective for interviewing former national security adviser Michael Flynn in the White House in January 2017.
Ø These documents include handwritten notes reportedly from the FBI's former head of counterintelligence Bill Priestap. The document discusses if their “goal” is to “get him to lie,” so that they could “prosecute him or get him fired” while questioning him about the Russian contacts, according to Fox News.
Ø "What is our goal?" one of the notes read. "Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?"
Ø Further, these notes reportedly discuss the pros and cons of using those different approaches against Flynn. These handwritten notes were taken after a meeting with former FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
Ø The release of these documents created a stir among the President and his supporters. Trump via tweets attacked FBI leadership, including former Director James Comey, saying Flynn was wronged.
Ø “What happened to General Michael Flynn, a war hero, should never be allowed to happen to a citizen of the United States again!" Trump said in a tweet. Later, Trump also tweeted that he would “certainly consider" bringing Flynn back into the administration.
Ø Flynn’s lawyers say that they believe the documents and it supports their accusations of investigative misconduct. In 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with Russia's ambassador.
Let's Reroute the Uproar
Flynn did lie. He denied conversations with Sergei Kislyak about lifting sanctions against Russia to FBI agents, repeatedly. Even after he was given a second opportunity to come clean. Mueller was charged with prosecuting crimes that he came to discover and Flynn just seemed to think he was bullet proof. Flynn was not a member of the government at that time and had no business discussing foreign policy unless he was a registered foreign agent. Flynn consummated the commission of a crime involving himself. Once he was indicted his lawyers offered to give up someone else. Flynn decides to repeatedly lie to FBI agents who know he is lying but can't figure out why. He obviously thinks that Trump will save him or that he is untouchable. So if it never happened, and Flynn has some of the best legal talent in Washington, why does he not tell the judge he is not guilty when the judge questions him personally?
No, it wasn't entrapment, and under existing law he's guilty. But I can't believe how many people are seemingly okay with "Lying to a Federal Officer" as a stand-alone crime. This is perhaps the single worst Federal Criminal Statute on the book for over 10 years now. While we all know it's been going on for years, having an officer literally write that they're going into an interview with "the goal of getting him to lie" is appalling. The use of this law against someone with the political stature of Flynn is very much the exception. It's a discretionary charge wielded by a politically accountable executive branch, so I thoroughly reject the notion that it's generally useful for holding political actors accountable. The normal recipient of this underinformed, disenfranchised minorities, whose life is often literally placed in jeopardy by cooperating with Federal Law Enforcement. If it takes an old, politically connected white guy to raise awareness of this law, so be it. A pardon isn't the right answer. People who care about individual liberty and minority rights should be seizing on this opportunity to get the stature repealed.
Sure, he lied. Won’t deny the fact in that regard. However, this new evidence that suggests the FBI manipulated him under interrogation reveals a problem far more horrifying. The story here is not “Trump associate attempts to avoid punishment by exploiting technicality,” its “FBI had badly motivated partisan intentions and deliberately attempted to target a presidential candidate by manipulating a then-innocent suspect.”
If this isn’t cause for concern Laura, I don’t know what is. Everything else is irrelevant. The fact that Flynn lied, the drama that has ensued since, the Mueller report, Russian interference, everything. Even the point you try to bring up about minority rights, which seems out of place at the moment anyways. None of it matters in the slightest. Only this fact should be discussed:
The FBI intentionally, and with partisan motivation, interfered in free democratic elections in the United States of America.
Is this what America has become? Is our democracy transforming into a bureaucratic oligarchy, where our “betters” in DC and the intelligence community can conspire to select their preferred outcome of an election? When Trump says he wants to “make America great again,” this is what he’s talking about. Rooting out the corruption and self-importance of the federal elite, and turning Washington’s ear to the concerns of real Americans in the middle of the country.
You say you can’t believe how many people are okay with “lying to a federal officer” as a stand-alone crime. Well, I can’t believe how many people are okay with the FBI tampering with campaigns and American elections for their own partisan gain. We need to straighten out our priorities, and if we can’t, democracy will soon be lost.
As for your points about minorities being the normal victims of the entrapment statute, the entire premise is ludicrous. Not only did you not provide a speck of evidence, but you seem to believe that the statute should be repealed? So you want to make it legal for federal officers to manipulate suspects into making a false statement for the purpose of then having a reason to prosecute them? That doesn’t sound like justice to anyone, if you ask me.
Why Was General Flynn Fired?
A lot of people are getting worked up over the fact that the FBI blatantly tried to get President Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to lie. The thing is, perjury entrapment is a tactic used often by prosecutors. The real problem is near the end of the handwritten note, which reads in part, “What’s our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?”
“Get him fired” is the operative phrase. But why?
We have to remember that before President Trump ever took office, the FBI and Obama Justice Department were engaged in an investigation of Trump’s supposed collusion with Russia. The investigation itself was a sham, or “witchhunt” as many Republicans termed it.
One example of the rampant corruption during the Trump-Russia investigation has to do with the Steele Dossier, which for practical purposes, served as the basis of the investigation. The Steele Dossier was written by a former British spy named Christopher Steele, as commissioned by an opposition research firm called Fusion GPS (which was run by Glenn Simpson, who had several shady connections overseas and to DOJ officials). Well, Fusion GPS was funded in part by the Clinton Foundation. In short, Hillary Clinton funded the beginning of a DOJ investigation into then-candidate Donald Trump.
All in all, the Trump-Russia investigation was a sham meant to distract, discredit, and impeach an incoming president. And the FBI needed Flynn out of the way to protect themselves.
The thing is, President Trump was rather naive when he first entered the White House. Except for a few, many of the President’s incoming staff was also green and inexperienced. General Flynn had over thirty years of experience dealing with intelligence officials and was in no way naive of what was really going on at the FBI and DOJ.
The ousting of General Flynn was a cover-up initiated by James Comey, …and I think the two of them should swap their places of residence.
The "witch hunt" trope has really lost its luster, in my opinion. Even Steve Bannon agrees that the label doesn't do the Trump campaign any favors anymore. If you haven't yet, I recommend reading the entire Mueller report. It's free and readily available with a Google search. When I have discussions with people about it, I first ask whether they read it. The answer, besides once, has always been no. I send them the PDF. They still don't read it. I get it, it's long. But if it's what we're talking about all the time (luckily not much recently), we ought to familiarize ourselves with the source instead of drawing conjectures that resemble an amalgam of other conjectures that we cherry pick.
Mueller says in his report that he decided not to make a finding about whether the President’s actions constituted obstruction because the policy of the Department of Justice wouldn’t allow a criminal prosecution of the President while he was in office, and so therefore the President wouldn’t have an opportunity to clear his name. On the other hand, if the evidence allowed a conclusion that the President didn’t obstruct justice, Mueller said he thought it would be appropriate for him to say so. But the evidence, in Mueller’s view, didn’t allow that conclusion—because there’s lots of evidence that suggests Trump may in fact have obstructed justice.
I also do not think that "the FBI needed Flynn out of the way to protect themselves." Flynn lied. Flynn broke the law. Flynn is appropriately punished. In my analysis today, I take a look at the statute involved in this case, and the many problems with it. So yes, I do think this warrants conversation, but I wish it wasn't to "exonerate" Flynn--but to re-examine a statute that does a lot of damage to every day people. This time, the subject so happens to be high profile.