Last week, I suggested that Mike Flynn’s cute trick of publicly releasing information from Andy McCabe’s memo and Peter Strzok’s 302 might backfire.
He cited a memo that fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe wrote the day of Flynn’s interview and the interview report (called a “302”) that fired FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok had a hand in writing up in August 2017, some seven months after the interview.
In response, the judge in his case, Emmet Sullivan, issued an order asking not just for those two documents, but any documents related to the matters Flynn writes up, to be filed by tomorrow, along with the government’s reply to his memorandum.
And so it is that on the one year anniversary of the order Sullivan issued to ensure that Flynn got any exculpatory information relating to his plea, that the hopes among the frothy right that Flynn’s prosecution (including for lying about his sleazy influence peddling with Turkey) will be delegitimized and with it everything that happened subsequent to Flynn’s plea might be answered.
Or maybe not.
DOJ has never had the opportunity to write its own explanation for what happened with Flynn’s interview. By inviting a reply specifically in the context of this Flynn claim, Sullivan has given DOJ the opportunity to do just that, finally.
Sullivan’s order may result in documentation that reveals just how shoddy all the claims irregularity surrounding Flynn’s interview have been all this time.
Boy oh boy was I right.
In response to Judge Sullivan’s order, the government filed Flynn’s 302 under seal. After Sullivan reviewed it, he deemed it pertinent to Flynn’s sentencing, and had the government release a redacted version.
And it is unbelievably damning, in part because it shows the degree to which Flynn’s lies served to protect Trump.
The 302 shows how the FBI Agents first let Flynn offer up his explanation for his conversation with Kislyak. He lied about the purpose for his call to Kislyak on December 29 (he said he had called to offer condolences about the assassination of Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey) and he lied about the purpose of his call about Israel (he claimed he was, in part, doing a battle drill “to see who the administration could reach in a crisis” and in the process tried to find out how countries were voting on the Israeli motion; Flynn denied he had asked for any specific action).
Then, after the Agents specifically asked whether he recalled any conversation about the Obama actions, Flynn doubled down and claimed he did not know about those actions because he was in Dominican Republic.
He was hiding two things with this claim: first, I believe Susan Rice had given the Trump Administration a heads up on what Obama was going to do (at the very least the Obama Admin had asked the transition not to send mixed messages, and at least one person on the transition says they agreed not to). More importantly, he was hiding that he had already talked about the actions with KT McFarland, who was at Mar-a-Lago relaying orders from Trump.
And Flynn again denied having had a heads up from Susan Rice when he claimed he didn’t know that Russia’s diplomats were being expelled.
Finally, Flynn offered an excuse that is at least partly bullshit for why he called Kislyak multiple times.
The reason he kept calling Kislyak was, at least in part, because he was coordinating with Trump at Mar-a-Lago. His earlier claim that he didn’t respond to Kislyak is also probably a lie; he delayed his response to contact Mar-a-Lago first.
Sullivan said this 302 is relevant to Flynn’ sentencing, so he may actually use it to justify ignoring the joint requests of Flynn and Mueller for no jail time (though I’m not betting on it).
But by giving DOJ the opportunity to present this 302 for publication, Flynn provided proof of what has been hidden all this time — why Trump responded to the way he did about this investigation.
Flynn lied to hide Trump’s involvement in all this (and, to an extent, the degree to which it involved specifically ignoring a heads up from Obama).
Flynn lied to hide Trump’s personal involvement in telling the Russians to hold off on responding to Obama’s sanctions. And when the FBI investigated those lies, Trump fired the FBI Director to try to end that investigation.
Update: Jeebus. This 302 also reveals that he was quoting directly from the instructions KT McFarland had given him, relaying Trump’s orders. Here’s what McFarland said she had told Flynn, in an email shared with multiple transition officials.
She also wrote that the sanctions over Russian election meddling were intended to “lure Trump in trap of saying something” in defense of Russia, and were aimed at “discrediting Trump’s victory by saying it was due to Russian interference.”
“If there is a tit-for-tat escalation Trump will have difficulty improving relations with Russia, which has just thrown U.S.A. election to him,” she wrote.
And here’s what — quoting from the transcript of his calls with Kislyak — the Agents asked him if he said.
As I disclosed in July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post.