According to new information included in the sentencing documents for Michael Flynn, the entire interview that is the basis for his ‘perjury’ charge was a trap, deliberately set up by the FBI and designed to trick the former national security advisor.
Andrew McCabe specifically suggested Flynn not have an attorney present during the session, and the two FBI agents who spoke with him deliberately withheld the fact that his statements would have penalties so they could ensure Flynn was “relaxed.”
The new information is drawn from Director McCabe’s account of the events along with the FBI agents’ write-up of the interview, the so-called 302 report.
It is all contained in a sentencing memo filed Tuesday by Flynn’s defense team, which there was no objection to, which leads many people to think that the deep state no longer cares about being caught, they know nothing will happen.
The sentencing memo states that shortly after noon on Jan. 24, just four days into the new administration, McCabe called Flynn and said he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” to go over Flynn’s talks with Russian officials during the presidential transition period.
“I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [Flynn] and the agents only,” McCabe wrote.
“I further stated that if LTG Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House counsel for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. [Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants.”
So, it was a veiled threat, but worded in a way to make it seem like the FBI was only performing a formality.
Two hours later, the agents were there, getting a “little tour,” and according to the 302 report they said Flynn was “relaxed and jocular.”
“The agents did not provide Gen. Flynn with a warning of the penalties for making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. 1001 before, during, or after the interview,” the Flynn memo says.
And, the whole session was carefully planned.
The memo shows officials “decided the agents 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.”
“Before the interview, FBI officials had also decided that if ‘Flynn said he did not remember something they knew he said, they would use the exact words Flynn used … to try to refresh his recollection. If Flynn still would not confirm what he said … they would not confront him or talk him through it,'” the Flynn memo says, citing the FBI 302.
Flynn’s lawyers also argue ‘that the FBI treated Flynn differently from two other Trump-Russia figures who have pleaded guilty to and been sentenced for making false statements.’
One of them, Alexander Van der Zwaan, “was represented by counsel during the interview; he was interviewed at a time when there was a publicly disclosed, full-bore investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election; and he was given a warning that it is a federal crime to lie during the interview,” according to the memo.
The other, George Papadopoulos, “was specifically notified of the seriousness of the investigation…was warned that lying to investigators was a ‘federal offense’…had time to reflect on his answers…and met with the FBI the following month for a further set of interviews, accompanied by his counsel, and did not correct his false statements.”
Interestingly, the FBI 302 report cited in the memo was dated Aug. 22, 2017, which is nearly seven months after the interview.
Many people question why these agents would wait so long to perform a basic task.
Although both House and Senate investigating committees have demanded that the Justice Department allow them to see the Flynn 302, the department has refused.
Now that some of the information has been made public, many people think that new demands will be made by congressional investigators… or at least, they hope.
Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 18.