Days before retired Army Lt. Gen Michael Flynn was set to be sentenced, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered the Justice Department to produce interview records from their meeting with the former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn amid a filing by Flynn’s legal team suggesting that he was pressured or tricked into lying by the FBI.
Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of lying about his contacts with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, wiretapped phone calls of which the FBI had seen transcripts. After FBI agents interviewed Flynn, they would have written up a summary of the meeting in a report known as a “302,” which is used by FBI agents to “report or summarize the interviews they conduct” with witnesses or suspects, and are typically filed within days of the interview.
The 302 sought by Judge Sullivan would undoubtedly shed light on the FBI’s thought process and conduct surrounding the Flynn interview – as it was reported in February that the agents interviewing him, Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka, did not think Flynn was lying.
Thus, Judge Sullivan’s demand for the 302 summary of Flynn’s interview would have likely cleared things up. Unfortunately, the Department of Justice just submitted a “302” interview of Strzok’s account of the Flynn interview – which was conducted six months after the fact.
The FBI 302 of the interview with Strzok about the Flynn interview, however, explicitly references a 302 written up about the Flynn interview by a redacted official, who is likely Joe Pientka. DOJ did not include that 302 in today’s filing.
Where is the original Flynn 302? pic.twitter.com/yRlkqOWhWp
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) December 14, 2018
In June, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) suggested in an interview with The Hill that the Flynn 302 reports had possibly been tampered with.
Meadows, the leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and a close ally of President Trump’s, said he and other lawmakers are finding evidence of possible tampering, an allegation he previously made at a House hearing where Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz testified.
“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 added.
The question about the FBI interview reports, he said, was “were they changed to change the outcome of prosecution decisions. I think they might have.” –The Hill
BREAKING: IG Horowitz confirmed that he is investigating allegations that FBI officials “edited” agents’ 302 summary reports of interviews with witnesses and suspects in the 2016-2017 investigations (including Gen. Flynn)
— Paul Sperry (@paulsperry_) June 19, 2018
Don’t do many predictions, but here goes: the Flynn 302 is a composite 302. The source materials were not just edited but deleted prior to Flynn’s prosecution.
There is precedent for this: Mueller’s #2 Weissmann destroyed 302s and drafts/notes.
— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) June 7, 2018
Meanwhile, according to a sentencing memo filed Tuesday by Flynn’s attorneys, the FBI’s Andrew McCabe convinced Flynn not to have a lawyer present, and the FBI decided not to advise him of the penalties for lying.
Flynn’s legal team argued earlier this week in a sentencing memorandum that while he maintains his guilty plea, he was “unguarded” during the January 24, 2017 interview.
The Day before interviewing @GenFlynn Lisa Page and Peter Strzok are nervous and talking about their pre-planning with Andrew McCabe.
They were going to exploit their Flynn phone tap and the prior comments by VP-elect Mike Pence on 01/15. pic.twitter.com/uHN6qN3l8v
— TheLastRefuge (@TheLastRefuge2) December 5, 2018
Despite recommending no jail time in a filing last week due to his “significant” cooperation in the Mueller investigation, the special counsel pushed back on Flynn’s comments that he was “unguarded,” writing in a filing: “The defendant chose to make false statements about his communications with the Russian ambassador weeks before the FBI interview when he lied about that topic to the media, the incoming Vice President, and other members of the Presidential Transition Team,” adding “Nothing about the way the interview was arranged or conducted caused the defendant to make false statements to the FBI.”
“The defendant agreed to meet with the FBI agents, without counsel, and answer their questions. His [Flynn’s] obligation to provide truthful information came with that agreement; it did not turn on the presence of counsel.”