Michael Flynn's attorneys made public on Wednesday a handwritten note from Bill Priestap, the then-counterintelligence director at the FBI, that mused how agents should approach a critical interview with President Donald Trump's first national security adviser in the White House in January 2017.Trumpers, like GOP candidate Sean Parnell feel this way:
"What's our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?" Priestap wrote. "If we get him to admit to breaking the Logan Act, give facts to DOJ & have them decide. Or, if he initially lies, then we present him [redacted] & he admits it, document for DOJ, & let them decide how to address it."
Lawyers for Flynn, who pleaded guilty late in 2017 to lying to the FBI about conversations with Russia's ambassador, said they believe the document along with others support their accusations of investigative misconduct. It's now part of their effort in court to try to exonerate Flynn, and part of their public relations push for a presidential pardon for Flynn.
While CNN has included this in its story:The FBI used the vast power & unlimited resources of the US govt to deliberately set up @GenFlynn. They tried to destroy an innocent man.— Sean Parnell (@SeanParnellUSA) April 30, 2020
All so these unelected bureaucrats could go after @realDonaldTrump & silence the will of the people.
We cannot allow this corruption to stand. https://t.co/HxqsEWDjIt
Greg Brower, a former US attorney and the FBI's chief congressional liaison until 2018, said that without the context around the notes, it's hard to assign any deeper meaning to them.While that's being played out, let's all recall what Michael Flynn admitted to doing. All these documents can be found here.
"To the extent this is being advertised as evidence of something nefarious, I certainly don't see it in that way," Brower said. "I don't know what this means and I don't know that it's important at all."
Let's start with his statement of December 1, 2017:
After over 33 years of military service to our country, including nearly five years in combat away from my family, and then my decision to continue to serve the United States, it has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of "treason" and other outrageous acts. Such false accusations are contrary to everything I have ever done and stood for. But I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong, and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right. My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel's Office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country. I accept full responsibility for my actions. [Emphasis added.]What's in the plea agreement?
Flynn signed and dated the document that includes this:
Your client agrees that the attached "Statement of the Offense" fairly and accurately describes your client's actions and involvement in the offense to which your client is pleading guilty.And the "Statement of the Offense" includes this:
The defendant, MICHAEL T. FLYNN, who served as a surrogate and national security advisor for the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump (“Campaign”), as a senior member of President-Elect Trump's Transition Team (“Presidential Transition Team”), and as the National Security Advisor to President Trump, made materially false statements and omissions during an interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation on January 24, 2017, in Washington, DC. At the time of the interview, the FBI had an open investigation into the Government of Russia”s (“Russia”) efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, including the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Campaign and Russia, and whether there was any coordination between the Campaign and Russia's efforts.And:
FLYNN'S false statements and omissions impeded and otherwise had a material impact on the ongoing investigation into the existence of any links or coordination between individuals associated with the Campaign and Russia's efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.And so what did he admit to lying about, exactly? This:
On or about January 24, 2017, FLYNN agreed to be interviewed by agents from the FBI ("January 24 voluntary interview"). During the interview, FLYNN falsely stated that he did not ask Russia's Ambassador to the United States ("Russian Ambassador") to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia. FLYNN also falsely stated that he did not remember a follow-up conversation in which the Russian Ambassador stated that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of request.And:
During the January 24 voluntary interview, FLYNN made additional false statements about calls he made to Russia and several other countries regarding a resolution submitted by Egypt to the United Nations Security Council on December 21, 2016. Specifically FLYNN falsely stated that he only asked the countries' positions on the vote, and that he did not request that any of the countries take any particular action on the resolution. FLYNN also falsely stated that the Russian Ambassador never described to him Russia's response to request regarding the resolution.And:
On March 7, 2017, FLYNN filed multiple documents with the Department of Justice pursuant to the Foreign Agents Registration Act ("FARA") pertaining to a project performed by him and his company, the Flynn Intel Group, Inc. ("FIG") for the principal benefit of the Republic of Turkey ("Turkey project"). In Filings, FLYNN made materially false statements and omissions, including by falsely stating that (a) FIG did not know whether or the extent to which the Republic of Turkey was involved in the Turkey project, (b) the Turkey project was focused on improving US business organizations' confidence regarding doing business in Turkey, and an op-ed by FLYNN published in The Hill on November 8, 2016, was written at his own initiative; and by omitting that officials from the Republic of Turkey provided supervision and direction over the Turkey project.Finally, Flynn signed the document right under this:
The preceding statement is a summary, made for the purpose of providing the Court with a factual basis for my guilty plea to the charge against me. It does not include all of the facts known to me regarding this offense. I make this statement knowingly and voluntarily and because l am, in fact, guilty of the crime charged. No threats have been made to me nor am I under the influence of anything that could impede my ability to understand this Statement of the Offense fully.He admitted under oath ("under penalty of perjury") to committing the offenses. Under oath he stated:
I have read every word of this Statement of the Offense, or have had it read to me. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11, after consulting with my attorneys, I agree and stipulate to this Statement of the Offense, and declare under penalty of perjury that it is true and correct.
I make this statement knowingly and voluntarily and because l am, in fact, guilty of the crime charged.Facts are stubborn things.