The Eight Investigations into the Russian Investigation Have Already Lasted 47% Longer than the Investigation Itself

Before the holiday weekend, FBI Director Christopher Wray announced an “after-action review of the Michael Flynn investigation.” Thus far, that makes the eighth known investigation into the Russian investigation — and every known investigation included at least a small component relating to Mike Flynn. The investigations into the Russian investigation, which collectively have lasted around 2,064 days, have gone on 47% longer than the investigation itself.

This table lists all the known investigations pertaining to the Russian investigation, save those into people involved in the Carter Page FISA applications. All have at least a component touching on the investigation into Mike Flynn.

This table assumes the Russian investigation is ongoing, based off the redactions in the Roger Stone warrant releases and FOIAed 302s, even though Mueller closed up shop a year ago.

At least three of the investigations in this table pertain to allegations first seeded with Sara Carter and then to various Congressional staffers that Andrew McCabe said, “Fuck Flynn, and I fucking hate Trump.” McCabe was actually considered the victim of the first investigation, which was conducted by the FBI’s Inspection Division, the same entity that will conduct the investigation announced last week. While the full timing of that investigation is not known, Strzok gave a statement to the Inspection Division on July 26, 2017. That Inspection Division investigation led into the investigation into McCabe himself, though that investigation focused on his confirmation of the investigation into the Clinton Foundation (and so is not counted in this table).

Mike Flynn kept raising the “Fuck Flynn” allegations with prosecutors, leading the government to review the allegations two more times, including an October 25, 2018 interview with Lisa Page where she was also asked about her role in editing the Flynn 302s.

The defendant’s complaints and accusations are even more incredible considering the extensive efforts the government has made to respond to numerous defense counsel requests, including to some of the very requests repeated in the defendant’s motion. For instance, the defendant alleges that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said, “‘First we f**k Flynn, then we f**k Trump,’ or words to that effect;” and that Deputy Director McCabe pressured the agents to change the January 24 interview report. See Mot. to Compel at 4, 6 (Request ##2, 22). Defense counsel first raised these allegations to the government on January 29, 2018, sourcing it to an email from a news reporter. Not only did the government inform defense counsel that it had no information indicating that the allegations were true, it conducted additional due diligence about this serious allegation. On February 2, 2018, the government disclosed to the defendant and his counsel that its due diligence confirmed that the allegations were false, and referenced its interview of the second interviewing agent, 4 who completely denied the allegations. Furthermore, on March 13, 2018, the government provided the defendant with a sworn statement from DAD Strzok, who also denied the allegations.

Nevertheless, on July 17, 2018, the defense revived the same allegations. This time, the defense claimed that the source was a staff member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (“HPSCI”). The HPSCI staff member allegedly told the defendant that the second interviewing agent had told the staff member that after a debrief from the interviewing agents, Deputy Director McCabe said, “F**k Flynn.” Once again, the government reviewed information and conducted interviews, and once again confirmed that the allegations were completely false. And after defendant and his counsel raised the accusation for a third time, on October 15, 2018, the government responded by producing interview reports that directly contradicted the false allegations. Despite possessing all of this information, defense counsel has again resurrected the false allegations, now for a fourth time

The DOJ IG investigation into whether Jim Comey violated policy or the law by bringing home his CYA memos started in July 2017 and continued through last summer. Obviously, one of those memos recorded Trump asking Comey to let the Flynn investigation go.

The table above does not include the DOJ IG Report on the Midyear Exam investigation (into Hillary), even though that was the first to examine the Lisa Page and Peter Strzok texts. For timing purposes, only the DOJ IG investigation into Carter Page’s FISA applications investigation counts the investigation into Page and Strzok. That investigation also considered the treatment of Flynn’s presence in the first intelligence briefing for Trump.

Finally, there’s the John Durham investigation — which Bill Barr’s top aides were scoping at least as early as April 12 of last year. There is no public scope document. Similarly, there’s no public scope document of the Jeffrey Jensen review, which Barr launched to create some excuse to move to dismiss the Flynn prosecution after prosecutors recommended (and all of DOJ approved) prison time. Wray’s statement announcing the FBI’s own investigation into the Flynn investigation made clear that the Jensen investigation remains ongoing.

FBI Director Christopher Wray today ordered the Bureau’s Inspection Division to conduct an after-action review of the Michael Flynn investigation.  The after-action review will have a two-fold purpose:  (1) evaluate the relevant facts related to the FBI’s role in the Flynn investigation and determine whether any current employees engaged in misconduct, and (2)  evaluate any FBI policies, procedures, or controls implicated by the Flynn investigation and identify any improvements that might be warranted.

The after-action review will complement the already substantial assistance the FBI has been providing to U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen in connection with his work on the Flynn case.  Under Director Wray’s leadership, the FBI has been fully transparent and cooperative with Mr. Jensen, and the FBI’s help has included providing special agents to assist Mr. Jensen in the fact-finding process.  Although the FBI does not have the prosecutorial authority to bring a criminal case, the Inspection Division can and will evaluate whether any current on-board employees engaged in actions that might warrant disciplinary measures.  As for former employees, the FBI does not have the ability to take any disciplinary action.

Director Wray authorized this additional level of review now that the Department of Justice, through Mr. Jensen’s work, has developed sufficient information to determine how to proceed in the Flynn case.  However, Mr. Jensen’s work will continue to take priority, and the Director has further ordered the Inspection Division to coordinate closely with Mr. Jensen and ensure that the review does not interfere with or impede his efforts.  Relatedly, for purposes of ensuring investigative continuity across these related matters, the Inspection Division will also utilize to the extent practicable the special agents that the FBI previously assigned to assist Mr. Jensen.

In Bill Barr’s interview with Catherine Herridge, he discussed the Jensen review in terms of criminal behavior, which would mean Jensen and Durham are both considering criminal charges for some of the same activities — activities that had been investigated six times already.

Based on the evidence that you have seen, did senior FBI officials conspire to throw out the national security adviser?

Well, as I said, this is a particular episode. And it has some troubling features to it, as we’ve discussed. But I think, you know, that’s a question that really has to wait an analysis of all the different episodes that occurred through the summer of 2016 and the first several months of President Trump’s administration.

What are the consequences for these individuals?

Well, you know, I don’t wanna, you know, we’re in the middle of looking at all of this. John Durham’s investigation, and U.S. Attorney Jensen, I’m gonna ask him to do some more work on different items as well. And I’m gonna wait till all the evidence is, and I get their recommendations as to what they found and how serious it is.

But if, you know, if we were to find wrongdoing, in the sense of any criminal act, you know, obviously we would, we would follow through on that. But, again, you know, just because something may even stink to high heaven and be, you know, appear everyone to be bad we still have to apply the right standard and be convinced that there’s a violation of a criminal statute. And that we can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. The same standard applies to everybody.

This is one reason why DOJ’s claim to have found “new” information justifying their flip-flop on Flynn’s prosecution would be so absurd if DOJ weren’t making the claim (with no documentation) in court. Different entities in DOJ had already investigated circumstances surrounding the Flynn investigation at least seven times before Jensen came in and did it again.

But I guess Barr is going to keep investigating until someone comes up with the result he demands.

9 replies
  1. Zinsky says:

    Thanks for your great analysis once again, Marcy. I know of no other website that does such in-depth, comparative analytics related to the gross misdeeds of the foul William Barr. I only hope that there is some sort of Truth and Reconciliation Commission empaneled after this malignancy is no longer the attorney general.

  2. OldTulsaDude says:

    Don’t turn that dial! Now, the same party that brought you Benghazi – Will It Never End? has reached a new faux investigative milestone with Flynnghazi – Oops! Do Over?

  3. Old Antarctic Explorer says:

    Is there any way to get person-days? That might be a better statistical indicator than just days. But I’m guessing that DOJ isn’t letting those numbers out.

    • Silly but True says:

      Counting the “Russia Investigation” — $40m alone, covering at least himself plus 13 full time DoJ prosecutors, as well as about that many more adjunct temporary assignees from various federal agencies primarily the FBI just for the Mueller portion which started a year after the investigation began — in terms of person-days is likely to explode its total, dwarfing the collective of the others by a whole different scale. It would probably lose the impact of the point being made.

  4. drouse says:

    One thing the right has always been good at is making mountains out of mole hills. Now they’re digging for some little nugget that they might blow up into a campaign scandal. They know perseverance pays off. With Benghazi it was what, seventh’s time the charm?

    I think that this is going to be the right’s new shiny object:
    It’s already making the rounds of right wing sites and it’s only a matter of time before more mainstream sites are “forced” to notice it. Based on leaked tapes that may well be fabricated as part of some Russian ratfucking.

    • civil says:

      Some mainstream sites have already noted it, but will hopefully discuss it correctly. For ex., from the Post a week ago: “Ukraine’s Zelensky pulled back into U.S. political fray after leaked Biden tapes,” reprinted here (for those without a Post subscription): . Not a great headline, but the discussion is decent. And here’s discussion from the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, a Ukrainian human rights organization: . I’m not citing that as an example of mainstream media discussion, only as additional helpful background from a Ukrainian perspective.

      This is more of Bannon’s “flood the zone with shit” approach, where there are so many false claims and recognizing that they’re false requires someone to have a good handle on details that many people aren’t going to dig into.

      And now look at the uproar re: Twitter noting that just 2 of Trump’s tweets are false, and doing it in such a vague way on the tweet itself. Zuckerberg responded “I don’t think that Facebook or internet platforms in general should be arbiters of truth. I think that’s kind of a dangerous line to get down in terms of deciding what is true and what isn’t.”

      Just as Trump says whatever he finds convenient to claim in the moment, even if it conflicts with his own earlier claims, he wants his supporters to focus on what they find convenient to believe, not on what’s actually true. It’s hugely dangerous.

      “The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e. the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e. the standards of thought) no longer exist.” (Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism)

  5. Stacey says:

    I think the ‘rinse and repeat’ nature of the investigations are obviously trying to go until they find something, but they also don’t want to ‘end’ the investigation too early, even if they already have whatever they want to mount on the wall of their cabin because if it ‘pops’ too soon, the debunking of it will also run it to ground by election day and it’ll all be for naught. The timing has to be just right. If Comey had announced the ‘wait, maybe…we might have found something’ in her emails 45 days instead of 11 days before the election, that’d be a totally different ball game. They’re going to stall and drag their feet around until just the right moment, late October, I think is what’s circled on their little desk calendars.

  6. Tom says:

    You would think that, at some point, all these mastications and re-mastications of the evidence would broaden to include looking into the President’s secret meetings with Vladimir Putin, the meetings where only a Russian translator was present, or where Trump asked the American translator to hand over her notes and keep mum about what she’d heard, or where Trump met alone with Putin without disclosing details of his discussion to anyone else.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      You might think that, if you didn’t know it was Bill Barr ginning up the investigations.

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