The Hill is reporting that Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., has serious doubts about whether former Trump National Security adviser Michael Flynn actually lied.
He said in a recent interview that he and others are “finding evidence of possible tampering,” and he’s stilling looking into the matter.
“I brought this up with the inspector general the other day. Some of those key witness will be asked to appear before House Oversight,” he said in the interview.
Flynn was fired by Trump a year ago in February – and he explained it was because Flynn lied to Vice President Pence.
Flynn later said, under pressure from special counsel Robert Mueller, who is supposed to be investigating the Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, he lied to the FBI. Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of lying even though former FBI Director James Comey stated the agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe he was lying about a conversation with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December 2016.
It wasn’t the first time the actual results – Flynn pleading guilty to lying – has been doubted.
“And some people say he lied and some people say he didn’t lie. I mean, really, it turned out maybe he didn’t lie,” the president said.
Now investigative reporter Sara Carter has documented that it is, perhaps, possible that Flynn didn’t.
Lie, that is.
She’s posted an interview with a former FBI official, not identified, who appears to confirm a scenario that that’s possible.
Discussed are the strategies for interviewing, why there could be “lying” or not, and the “302” forms that FBI agents fill out after they interview someone.
Allegations against Flynn are that he lied about meeting with a Russian.
The official said two agents would do an interview, with one talking and one taking notes.
“In the case of Flynn … you know both [FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok] and FBI Special Agent Joe Pientka both would digitally sign the 302. You know there’s a system and the FBI agents put in a card that identifies them. There’s a specific pin that is known only to you. You look at the documents. You say that everything looks good, then you click sign and … enter your pin,” he said.
He explains the agents would not have revealed to Flynn the transcripts.
The problem, he explained, comes through the presence of Strzok, the agent who wrote viciously anti-Trump social media messages and in fact, in one case, assured someone else that he would “stop” Trump from becoming president, which carries at least the implication of a threat.
Also involved was now-fired deputy director Andrew McCabe.
“There are all sorts of lies that have been discovered on what has transpired with regard to McCabe … [former Director James] Comey possibly as well here, as well as other people that were involved in that sort of special investigation. McCabe was caught lying, Comey [was caught] lying, and others. For example, with Flynn’s 302s and notes, the agents would take those documents back to headquarters and then share what they observed with people. McCabe and Comey may be two of those people. The agents are going to talk about it and people are going to ask how the interview went. They are going to read that document and then ask for the opinions of the investigators, in this case, Strzok and Pientka. And that is where this idea that you know one agent or possibly both agents said, ‘look we don’t think that he was lying or maybe he wasn’t forthcoming.'”
The official admitted McCabe was “trying to undermine the Trump administration.”
And he said it “absolutely” would be a conflict of interest for Strzok to have had an anti-Trump bias and conduct the interview on Flynn.
“Any judge would pick that apart in a court of law, any judge. He is tainted at that point. And you do have issues of taint in a court of law … One of the things that you have issues with is [that] you have all this highly sensitive … top secret, tight reporting that occurs and you don’t want to have people who have been tainted by that material performing that interview. Now, you do it for a lot of reasons. One, you do it because sometimes you can’t give up that information. You want to get what’s called a clean team to do the interviews … people who haven’t had access to any of this highly sensitive information to perform the interview and you give them sort rough guidelines [of] what you want them to talk about and then hopefully they’ll get the person to admit to it.”
The bias, the official said, would provide a “field day” for a legal representative for Flynn.
“From what I understand, Flynn was very forthcoming about the things that they really didn’t even ask him about or about things that … there’s no way he could have suspected that they knew information about. For example, other meetings that he had, or about people with whom he met and was very forthcoming about that. Even though he was very forthcoming about 99 percent of things that happened, if he misremembered, or if he was exhausted because the guy probably had about four hours of sleep a night during that time, it didn’t matter in the end. They wanted to get him. All he had to do was misremember one time that he talked to the guy. Then they could automatically brought him up on that one charge,” the official said.
There are, in fact, serious doubts now about the Flynn case.
Mueller, who has yet to produce evidence of Trump campaign collusion with Russia, has turned over all of the evidence regarding Flynn to a federal judge.
That came after the judge who was presiding over the case, Rudolph Contreras, suddenly was removed, and the new judge, Emmet Sullivan, ordered the material delivered from Mueller to Flynn’s lawyers and the court.
Sullivan had said: “The government is further directed to produce all discoverable evidence in a readily usable form. For example, the government must produce documents as they are kept in the usual course of business or must organize and label them clearly.”
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy speculated in a National Review column that the judge might have been worried that favorable evidence was being withheld by Mueller.
The official explained Flynn might have admitted to lying, even if he didn’t, because he’d been literally beaten down.
“They hold out until … he’s really he’s at his wit’s end. Flynn’s financially in a hole. He’s already … sold his house. He’s completely destitute. The bureau starts going after his family and they say, ‘Hey Mike Flynn, we’re going to go after your family.’ Maybe [there’s] something they think they can get on his son or anyone close to him. Flynn is a true patriot and stand-up guy. So he takes the 1001 charge to get the Special Counsel off his back. The FBI and Special Counsel clap their hands and pat themselves on the back and then there it is. That’s how it all happens.”