Categories: Politics

FBI launches internal review of Michael Flynn investigation; inquiry to focus on possible misconduct

Kevin Johnson and Kristine Phillips
USA TODAY

Published 4:25 PM EDT May 22, 2020

WASHINGTON – FBI Director Christopher Wray ordered an internal review Friday into possible misconduct related to the bureau’s investigation of former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn.

In addition to evaluating the actions of “current employees,” the FBI said the review by the Inspection Division would determine whether internal controls needed to be improved.

The FBI’s review would mark the second such evaluation of the fraught case. Earlier this year, Attorney General William Barr appointed the U.S. Attorney in St. Louis to to lead an examination, which prompted the Justice Department this month to abruptly abandon the prosecution of Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his pre-inaugural contacts with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Abandoning a prosecution: DOJ drops case against former Trump adviser Michael Flynn in boldest step yet to undermine Mueller probe

Flynn judge intervenes: Judge in Michael Flynn case delaying decision on DOJ request to abandon prosecution

Justice’s move to dismiss the case is pending before a federal judge in Washington who has tapped a retired jurist to challenge the government’s request.

The FBI said Friday that its “after-action review” would supplement the inquiry by U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Jensen.

“The FBI has been fully transparent and cooperative with Mr. Jensen, and the FBI’s help has included providing special agents to assist Mr. Jensen in the fact-finding process,” the bureau said.

“Although the FBI does not have the prosecutorial authority to bring a criminal case, the Inspection Division can and will evaluate whether any current on-board employees engaged in actions that might warrant disciplinary measures.  As for former employees, the FBI does not have the ability to take any disciplinary action.”

Flynn’s attorneys have claimed he had been trapped by FBI investigators into making false statements during a January 2017 interview and not disclosing evidence that would’ve exonerated him during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

FBI documents released in April have prompted Flynn’s defense team and his allies, including President Donald Trump, to claim that the FBI unfairly targeted the former Army general and other former Trump aides swept up in the Russia investigation..

The documents showed that investigators were prepared to close the investigation on Flynn – code named Crossfire Razor – but decided to keep it open even though the inquiry had not yielded “information on which to predicate further investigative efforts.”

Four pages of emails and other documents unsealed last month show FBI officials mulling over what to tell Flynn prior to the January 2017 interview about his contacts with Kislyak.

“What is our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?” according to a page of handwritten notes. “We regularly show evidence, with the goal of getting them to admit their wrongdoing.”

“If we’re seen as playing games, WH will be furious,” according to the notes, referring to the White House.

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