โ€˜FBI Leadershipโ€™ Decided Not to Provide Russian Call Transcripts to Flynn in Interview

Newly released documents in the Michael Flynn case include a January 2017 DOJ draft memo that states โ€œFBI leadershipโ€ decided against showing Flynn transcripts of his calls with the Russian ambassador in the White House interview that led to his guilty plea.

The DOJ document, dated January 30, 2017 โ€” along with a batch of handwritten notes from DOJ and FBI officials describing Flynnโ€™s White House interview with former FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI agent Joseph Pientka on January 24, 2017 โ€” shed further light on the FBIโ€™s spontaneous interview with Flynn, who had just begun his role as national-security adviser for President Trump.

โ€œFBI advised that based on this interview, they did not believe General Flynn was acting as an age of Russia,โ€ the DOJ draft document, which is heavily redacted, states. โ€œFBI also advised that although they recognized the statements were inconsistent with the FISA collection, they believed that Flynn believed what he was telling them. FBI did not confront Flynn with the communications during the interview.โ€

The document explains that while the Bureau โ€œprompted Flynn with language used during the call,โ€ Flynn was not shown his actual words because of a decision โ€œmade by FBI leadership not to confront Flynn with the actual tech cuts.โ€

The mentioning of โ€œtech cutsโ€ about the interviewโ€™s subject matter โ€” Flynnโ€™s December 2016 conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak โ€” adds further context to the questions over how Flynnโ€™s calls were monitored in the first place. โ€œTech cutsโ€ are commonly referred to as internal FBI documents that contain and describe FISA intelligence, suggesting that the FBI picked up Flynnโ€™s calls through FISA surveillance. DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz has said his office found no evidence of a FISA application on Flynn, raising the possibility that Flynnโ€™s calls with Kislyak were picked up through FISA surveillance of the Russians.

In texts between Strzok and then-DOJ lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was having an affair, Strzok references the cuts that the Bureau had obtained of Flynnโ€™s calls, saying that then-FBI Assistant Director Bill Priestap was concerned with โ€œsharingโ€ information on Flynn โ€” dubbed Crossfire Razor, or โ€œCRโ€ for short โ€” with the Obama White House.

โ€œHe, like us, is concerned with over sharing,โ€ Strzok texted Page on January 3, 2017, according to a transcript obtained by John Solomon. โ€œDoesnโ€™t want Clapper giving CR cuts to WH. All political, just shows our hand and potentially makes enemies.โ€

In April, unsealed documents from the Flynn investigation showed that Flynn was investigated in a case predicated by the FBIโ€™s โ€œCrossfire Hurricaneโ€ probe of the 2016 Trump campaign, but the Bureau moved to close the investigation on January 4, 2017, after an โ€œabsence of any derogatory informationโ€ about Flynnโ€™s Russian contacts. Strzok then intervened to keep the case open, explaining that โ€œ7th floor involvedโ€ โ€” referencing the floor in Bureau headquarters that houses senior FBI leadership.

Transcripts of Flynnโ€™s calls with Kislyak were released in May, showing that Flynn never mentioned โ€œsanctionsโ€ and asked Russia not to โ€œescalateโ€ after the Obama administration sanctioned the Kremlin for election interference.

Flynn released the documents in a Friday court filing after they were handed over to his defense team by the Justice Department this week. Flynn is currently locked in a battle with U.S. District Court judge Emmet Sullivan, who has so far refused to drop Flynnโ€™s guilty plea ย despite the DOJโ€™s move to withdraw its case, citing previously undisclosed exculpatory information.

โ€œIn short, there was no crime for many reasons,โ€ Flynnโ€™s lawyer Sidney Powell wrote of the new information. โ€œThese documents were known to exist at the highest levels of the Justice Department and by Special Counsel, yet they were hidden from the defense for three years.โ€

On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ordered Powell and the DOJ to respond within 10 days to Judge Sullivanโ€™s Thursday โ€œen bancโ€ petition for Flynnโ€™s case to be heard by the full appeals court. A panel for the D.C. Circuit has already ruled that Sullivan must dismiss the case.

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