DOJ [or Flynn’s Team] Altered an Exhibit in the Mike Flynn Case to Support a False Smear of Joe Biden

As noted, Peter Strzok’s lawyer has confirmed something I laid out earlier: DOJ submitted at least two sets of Strzok’s notes in its effort to blow up the Mike Flynn prosecution that had been altered to add a date that Strzok did not write himself.

This post will lay out why it matters.

I discovered that DOJ [or Flynn’s team] had altered Strzok’s notes because DOJ shared — and Sidney Powell submitted in purported support of her claim of prosecutorial abuse — two sets of those notes.

This set, shared on June 23 (the red rectangle is my annotation).

And this set, shared on September 23. Again, my red rectangle shows where DOJ added a date, January 4-5, 2017.

As Strzok’s lawyer, Aitan Goelman, explained that date is wrong.

On at least one occasion, the date added is wrong and could be read to suggest that a meeting at the White House happened before it actually did.

The correct date is January 5, 2017. The notes could not have been written on January 4 because they memorialize a meeting that happened on January 5.

As I demonstrated here, there was never a doubt about the date of the notes. They were written on January 5, 2017, after the meeting in question. The notes clearly match the known details — as laid out in this contemporaneous memo to the file by Susan Rice and elsewhere — of a meeting in the White House, attended by the President, Sally Yates, Joe Biden, Susan Rice, and Jim Comey, regarding what to do about the discovery that Mike Flynn had secretly called up the Russian Ambassador and undermined the sanctions President Obama imposed, in part, to punish the Russians for tampering in our election.

In spite of the fact that there was never a doubt that the notes were from January 5, 2017, when DOJ shared the notes with Powell, they claimed that DOJ was uncertain of their date, and claimed falsely they could have been from January 3, 4, or 5.

This page of notes was taken by former Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok. While the page itself is undated; we believe that the notes were taken in early January 2017, possibly between January 3 and January 5.

Then, having been told, falsely, that the date of the notes was uncertain, Sidney Powell claimed they had been written on January 4, and used that to falsely claim that the idea of investigating Mike Flynn under the Logan Act came from Joe Biden.

Strzok’s notes believed to be of January 4, 2017, reveal that former President Obama, James Comey, Sally Yates, Joe Biden, and apparently Susan Rice discussed the transcripts of Flynn’s calls and how to proceed against him. Mr. Obama himself directed that “the right people” investigate General Flynn. This caused former FBI Director Comey to acknowledge the obvious: General Flynn’s phone calls with Ambassador Kislyak “appear legit.” According to Strzok’s notes, it appears that Vice President Biden personally raised the idea of the Logan Act.

Thus far, all DOJ did was falsely claim not to know key details of this investigation, allowing Powell to set off a frenzy designed to impact the election.

But then DOJ [or Flynn’s team] submitted the second version of the notes and Powell submitted them again, claiming they pertained to a March 2017 meeting.

Now, had DOJ told Powell when they shared the altered notes and told Judge Sullivan, by association, when they filed the notice of discovery correspondence (belatedly) last night that these were annotated copies of Strzok’s notes, they would not be at risk of committing the crime of making false statements by altering a record (the same crime Kevin Clinesmith pled guilty to). Had they just explained, “these come from so-and-so’s investigative notebooks and they show that he, the investigator, [falsely] concluded that the notes could be from January 4, 2017 and that’s why poor Sidney Powell made a false, still-uncorrected attack on Joe Biden in a filing before this court,” then this wouldn’t be a problem. I mean, they’d still have to explain why they submitted an altered copy of the notes, rather than just correcting the record before Sullivan. But it would not amount to a false representation that these were — as Ballantine’s letter to Powell claimed they were — “handwritten notes of former Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok (23501 & 23503).”

But now it is the case that the record before Sullivan shows that DOJ [or Flynn’s team] submitted these altered notes while claiming that they were Strzok’s hand-written notes (having already submitted proof that the annotation is not part of the original).

It’s not just that — as Goelman explained — the notes, “could be read to suggest that a meeting at the White House happened before it actually did.”

It’s that DOJ already did read the notes to suggest a meeting happened before it actually did. DOJ, and by association, Flynn’s lawyer, already made that false claim. And they did so specifically to support an attack on Presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Update, 9/30: I’ve altered this to reflect that the alterations to the notes could have come from Flynn’s team, which might explain why Sidney Powell was so nasty about Strzok’s lawyer’s letter yesterday.

22 replies
    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      As EW pointed out, DoJ failed to identify the “notes” as annotated: someone mechanically added information to them without identifying it. Instead, it portrayed the notes as original, when it knew the difference. It has, so far, failed to correct the record. Sanctions and prosecutions have been known to follow such things.

      Moreover, these are not random errors. They are directed at smearing Trump’s opponent in the November election. If anyone thinks that’s a mistake, I have a bridge to sell them.

      • bmaz says:

        I’m sure someone has mentioned it, but this is a hell of a lot more serious than the conduct Clinesmith was just forced to plead guilty to.

        • Rugger9 says:

          It might have been me, but no one here would have missed that parallel. Would this destroy any presumption of regularity by DOJ that AG Barr’s minions are trying to sell to Judge Sullivan? Given how he was the judge for the Ted Stevens case it might be the worst choice to fiddlefart with the documents for a case he’s running.

          This would also expand out to the other pending litigation with McCabe, Page, Strzok, etc., where the DOJ will strenuously claim they’re just being objective even though most of the recent posts like the last one show otherwise. After this I think only FedSoc ideologues would consider this normal. Everyone else will break out the sanctions pen.

          So then the question becomes why the WH thinks this was safe to release, and while we can allow for some confusion courtesy of the NYT bombshell, I think the idea is to stick a shiv in someone on the enemies list because as many have noted on the net, the cruelty is the point. That, and because Durham in spite of all of his efforts couldn’t find anything. Perhaps this falsifying of evidence was the last straw for Ms. Dannehy as well.

      • Rapier says:

        I was referring to letting this sloppy stuff out. It’s one thing for an enthusiastic Trumpist Machiavelli to hatch this little scheme but it’s another to actually let it out because it’s dumb. It promises to damage the DOJ in court, badly, so it was dumb to play this card. In fact it sabotages the DOJ. Self sabotage probably. I hope somebody get’s my drift.

  1. klynn says:

    There is a country where altering records and evidence to implicate or smear someone is a regular practice – Russia. The technique is often used to set up a “firehose of falsehoods” propaganda campaign. Learning “who” was fully involved in altering the evidence is vital right now because it is not just a matter of justice, it is a matter of national security. This is not just about Flynn.

    • klynn says:

      And I meant to note in your post where you discovered this that you had made a discovery perhaps even bigger than your discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded.

  2. greengiant says:

    Wondering if anyone told Biden this yet. Like as not #45 could not keep the lies he’s not supposed to claim in his head and still spout off this plot at a debate.

  3. The Old Redneck says:

    I don’t think the DOJ or Sid Powell care one whit about the truth. This is all just to manufacture a sound byte which can be repeated by people like Sean Hannity. They know the bullshit stream will never get corrected, because the news cycle will move on to something else.
    The cynicism of these people is truly extraordinary.

  4. tigertooth says:

    Sorry for the dumb question, but why does the January 4/5 distinction make a difference as to whether Joe Biden brought up the Logan Act? Did something happen on January 4 I’m not aware of?

    • P J Evans says:

      It gives them a shot at claiming something said on the 5th was a lie, because the meeting was on the 4th (which is the actual lie, here).

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      I thought that was the whole point of all this BS–so he could make his accusation last night. Unfortunately for him, he’d already spewed/ranted/bloviated nonstop for an hour and thus probably lost any impact it might have had with the susceptible.

    • tigertooth says:

      Looks like there’s evidence that the Logan Act had already been brought up on January 4, so it would be false to say that Biden was the first person to introduce the idea of the Logan Act, since that was on January 5. That said, I don’t even get what’s supposedly scandalous about Biden asking if Flynn violated the Logan Act.

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