DOJ Is Withholding the Mike Flynn 302 Describing How the Campaign Considered Reaching Out to Julian Assange after the Podesta Leaks

As DOJ continues to respond to the BuzzFeed/CNN Mueller FOIAs by releasing big swaths of 302s (FBI interview reports) almost entirely redacted under b5 (deliberative) exemptions, there are a number of issues on which it is withholding information that are utterly critical to current debates.

For example, Trump renewed his claim the other day that Robert Mueller had interviewed for the FBI job before being named Special Counsel, which he claims presented a conflict. According to the Mueller Report, Steve Bannon, Don McGahn, and Reince Priebus all rebutted that claim, either on the facts or whether it presented a conflict. But Bill Barr’s DOJ has withheld all of McGahn’s 302s, as well as the Bannon one (from October 26, 2018) cited in the Mueller Report on this topic. And DOJ redacted all the substantial discussion of what Reince Priebus told the President about this purported conflict in his.

Plus there’s substantially redacted material in the Rod Rosenstein 302 that pertains to this topic (and possibly also in Jody Hunt’s 302). Which is to say that DOJ is letting the President make repeated assertions about this topic, while withholding the counter-evidence under claims of privilege.

A more glaring example, however, involves Mike Flynn. In response to the FOIA, DOJ has only released the same January 24, 2017 302 that got released as part of Flynn’s sentencing. Even as Barr has planted outside reviewers in the DC US Attorney’s office to second-guess Flynn’s prosecution, DOJ is withholding 302s that — the government has suggested — show that Flynn wasn’t even all that forthcoming after he was purportedly cooperating with Mueller.

Based on filings and assertions made by the defendant’s new counsel, the government anticipates that the defendant’s cooperation and candor with the government will be contested issues for the Court to consider at sentencing. Accordingly, the government will provide the defendant with the reports of his post-January 24, 2017 interviews. The government notes that the defendant had counsel present at all such interviews.

Even Flynn himself released a sworn declaration revealing that his Covington lawyers told him his first interview with Mueller, on November 16, 2017, “did not go well.”

More urgent, given today’s news that Julian Assange’s lawyers will claim that when Dana Rohrabacher met with Assange in August 2017 about trading a pardon for disinformation about Russia’s involvement in the 2016 operation, DOJ is withholding details about conversations Flynn participated in during the campaign about WikiLeaks, including a possible effort to reach out to them after the John Podesta release.

The defendant also provided useful information concerning discussions within the campaign about WikiLeaks’ release of emails. WikiLeaks is an important subject of the SCO’s investigation because a Russian intelligence service used WikiLeaks to release emails the intelligence service stole during the 2016 presidential campaign. On July 22, 2016, WikiLeaks released emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee. Beginning on October 7, 2016, WikiLeaks released emails stolen from John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. The defendant relayed to the government statements made in 2016 by senior campaign officials about WikiLeaks to which only a select few people were privy. For example, the defendant recalled conversations with senior campaign officials after the release of the Podesta emails, during which the prospect of reaching out to WikiLeaks was discussed.

Assange has created a firestorm with the mere allegation — one already reported in great depth in real time — that Trump was involved in the 2017 Rohrabacher effort.

Except Mike Flynn’s 302s report something potentially more inflammatory: that the campaign started pursuing this effort in October 2016.

31 replies
  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    “DOJ is withholding details about conversations Flynn participated in during the campaign about WikiLeaks, including a possible effort to reach out to them after the John Podesta release.”

    Since those conversations came before Trump became president, executive privilege could not attach. I wonder what the basis for withholding it is.

    • OldTulsaDude says:

      It’s enough to make one wonder if Barr didn’t start the internal investigation of the DOJ’s start of the Russia investigation in order to block access to these 302’s as “ongoing investigation”.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Yes, and no. October 2016 was when Comey was trying to rein in SDNY Feebs from releasing HRC’s emails from a computer belonging to Huma Abedin that the gumshoes had not even asked to search, much less being denied and getting a warrant only to find out there was nothing there (we would have had all kinds of stuff in the news if there were something to talk about). So, I think the DOJ rogues in SDNY want to bury these 302s as well because they were active campaign accessories.

  2. it's complicated says:

    Thanks again for being a reliable source among a sea of *censored*.
    s/has plated outside reviewers/… planted …/ ?

  3. orionATL says:

    and now dana rohrbacher makes an entrance in our carnivale.

    the picture keeps getting clearer and clearer.

    history keeps getting pushed back further and further toward the beginning of the trump onslaught.

    “… A month before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, one of his closest allies in Congress — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation on Capitol Hill with his fellow GOP leaders: that Trump could be the beneficiary of payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016, exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a Californian Republican known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia…” **

    wapo, 5/17/17, a. entous.

    ** the minority leader was just kidding folks, honestly.

  4. PieIsDamnGood says:

    “Which is to say that DOJ is letting the President make repeated assertions about this topic, while withholding the counter-evidence under claims of privilege.”

    Is this an example of using privilege as a sword and shield? Because it smells like bullshit.

    • Rugger9 says:

      It will be interesting to see this litigated in a courtroom not packed by MMMcT, because even though IANAL, I always understood that if the topic was raised by someone then the doors were opened to dig in at that someone’s expense. Then again, maybe my Civics class training in the 5th Amendment was off….

        • Rugger9 says:

          It is a handle I have used for a long time now, since “Moscow Mitch” started trending. So, the Senate majority leader has packed the courts with unqualified judges (not just my opinion, the ABA’s as well) who are likely to cover for the Palace. Apparently that deliberate lawbreaking and coverup seems to be less troubling that the civility question your query points toward.

        • bmaz says:

          It is NOT about “civility” it is about people being able to read the comments and discussion here who do not understand the stupid ass little pet names people like to inject.

          There are congresspeople, congressional staffers, judges (both federal and state), law clerks, attorneys and others that read here daily. Not just the posts, but the comments too.

          If you and others are so full on determined to pull cute ass shit like this, and are determined to make us at this blog look stupid and have your thoughts summarily ignored and discounted, then proceed apace. Your thoughts, and the value of this space, ought be worth more than that.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Could you provide the evidence that the “congresspeople, congressional staffers, judges (both federal and state), law clerks, attorneys” that read here daily have commented that our input is “stupid”?

          Otherwise, I think you doth protest too much.

        • P J Evans says:

          If they haven’t met “MMMcT” yet, they’re not paying attention to anything bout their personal lives. It’s fairly widespread.

        • bmaz says:

          What in the living fuck is wrong with you people that you think your idiotic petty BS is more important than coherent commentary on our blog, and that federal judges and clerks etc. should have to decipher such crap?

          No, PJ, they “haven’t met MMMcT”. Jesus fucking christ, I did not even have any idea who or what that was.

          And, no, Rugger, I will not “provide evidence” of our discussions with such folks, because they occur in private and that is why I, and Marcy, are trusted to talk to by them.

          If you think your cute ass petty baloney is more important than the sanctity and import of this blog, purvey that bunk somewhere else. I am sick of this petty nonsense.

  5. sand says:

    Anyone else think that Trump loves burning up high-end Republicans even more than he does Democrats? Guys like Romney, Bolton, and now Barr have to choose to either prostrate themselves or feel his impotent wrath. He loves it even more than battling with the likes of Schumer, Schiff, and Pelosi. The GOP still thinks it can make a deal with the devil and walk away with a golden fiddle, just like the song they heard at the rally. I have a feeling it doesn’t work that way.

    He’s got his sights set on DOJ, and Barr’s going to have to kneel, probably “in a public box,” or leave. There’s only one king. Everyone else is a jester.

  6. gl says:

    More evidence of the “quid pro quo” corruption for political purposes. Seems likely that was used in the initial election interference, Flynn conversations w/ Kislyak, here w/ Assange, Ukraine, and probably more.

    Why change the play if it keeps working?

    Keep putting the pieces together before the world ends.

  7. Savage Librarian says:

    I thought it might be useful to gather together these comments that I made about Rohrabacher on previous ew posts:

    Jensen & Associates (of the Roger Stone PACs) is located in Costa Mesa, CA. Coincidentally, that is where Dana Rohrabacher had a residence.

    In November 2016, Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton and Dana Rohrabacher were all being considered for the position of Secretary of State in the Trump Administration.

    As I commented in ew’s post about Bannon on 1/10/20 (“Steve Brannon’s 302 of Laughter and Forgetting”):

    The redacted name in the October 19, 2016 email from Erik Prince to Steve Bannon could be Congressman (or Representative) Dana Rohrabacher. So, the 1st sentence in the email might read:

    “Steve, I am told Congressman (or Representative) Dana Rohrabacher is in Vegas and willing to play any role in debate activities that is helpful.”

    Rohrabacher has ties to Putin, Manafort, Giuliani, Pavel Fuks, Stone, Prince, Butina, Natalia Veselnitskaya, Lanny &Susie Wiles, and many others. Rohrabacher and Behrends have a DC consulting/lobbying firm called R&B Strategies. Pam Bondi may be linked to it through a client.

    Just for good measure here is a Carole Cadwalladr article from 2017 that might help remind us of some things:

    “Trump, Assange, Bannon, Farage… bound together in an unholy alliance” – The Guardian, 10/28/17

    “(You got this? Farage visited Trump, then Assange, then Rohrabacher. Rohrabacher met Don Trump’s Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. Then Assange. And is now trying to close the circle with Trump.)”

  8. Maureen A Donnelly says:

    Marcy–I, like so many others, are so grateful to you and all the other journalists who are the shining light in this horrific time of lies, chaos, and lack of spine. Why are MSM hitting these guys hard with FACTS?

  9. SomeGuyInMaine says:

    No doubt about. We are going to need some better stronger sunshine/transparency laws when this current phase is over.

    I’m surprised that these sorts of cover-up type abuses aren’t attracting more ire. They should.

    Though I’ll admit it’s a hard to dramatize story, it’s still very important.

    Solid work Marcy

Comments are closed.