National Review reports Attorney General Bill Barr explained that the FBI did not conduct “a bonafide counterintelligence investigation” in the case that led former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn to plead guilty to federal investigators in 2017.
Barr, speaking in an exclusive interview with CBS News after the Justice Department dropped its case against Flynn on Thursday, said that his review of the case found Bureau investigators laid “a perjury trap” for Flynn in a January 2017 White House interview.
“They didn’t warn him, the way that would usually be required by the Department, they bypassed the Justice Department, they bypassed the protocols at the White House, and so forth,” Barr stated. “These were things that persuaded me that there was not a legitimate counterintelligence investigation.”
Former FBI director James Comey admitted in a December 2018 interview that he “sent” the agents to interview Flynn, adding that it was “something I probably wouldn’t have done or maybe gotten away with in a more organized administration.”
In its Thursday court filing, the Justice Department explained that it was “not persuaded” that Flynn’s interview, which led to his guilty plea for lying to FBI agents Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka, had proper predication and was materially relevant.
Comey tweeted his disappointment, following the decision, saying “the DOJ has lost its way.”
The DOJ has lost its way. But, career people: please stay because America needs you. The country is hungry for honest, competent leadership.
— James Comey (@Comey) May 7, 2020
Barr pointed to recently-released information that showed the FBI moved to close its surveillance of Flynn after finding “no derogatory information” about the retired general’s contacts with Russians, only for Strzok to keep the case open, leading to the eventual interview.
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