Special counsel Robert Mueller has released to the public the January 2017 memo describing in detail the FBI’s interview with Michael Flynn. The memo proves that the former three-star general and head of the Defense Intelligence Agency told numerous lies during the interview, in violation of federal law.
The lies Flynn told led to the criminal case against Flynn, who at the time was President Trump’s national security adviser.
The memo makes very clear that Flynn lied extensively about his contacts during the presidential transition in 2016 with Russian officials. Flynn had denied contacts with Russians, including the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak.
The memo shows that Flynn had denied that he had made policy requests of Russia, through Kislyak. The FBI agents were able to get Flynn to talk more and give them more detailed descriptions of what he and the ambassador talked about.
Mueller released the memo on Monday night, the day before Flynn goes before a judge for his criminal sentencing. He pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI investigators.
Mueller’s prosecutors have told Judge Emmet Sullivan that Flynn has provided “substantial assistance” in their Russia investigation and should get little to no prison time.
The release of the FBI interview memo to the public comes at a time when President Trump, his attorneys, and his allies on Fox News have been attacking special counsel Mueller. They have accused Mueller and his investigators of various misdeeds, including treating Flynn unfairly, and luring him into a minor lie in the interview.
But the transcript shows that Flynn did extensive lying and was not prodded to do so by the FBI.
Trump has accused Mueller of pursuing Flynn on a made-up criminal charge that was not in line with the FBI’s initial conclusions that were reached after the interview.
Trump and his allies have attempted to create public doubts that the FBI had made a valid case against Flynn.
This is because one of the interviewers was former FBI agent Peter Strzok, who has been accused of bias. Also, they say that Flynn was not warned he could be prosecuted for lying and had no lawyer in the room with him during the interview.
Trump and others have alleged (based on no evidence) that the FBI determined the day of the interview that Flynn had NOT lied. Yet the memo from January 24, 2017, that was released Monday night does not say the FBI agents made any determinations about Flynn’s truthfulness on that date. The memo clearly describes what Flynn said in very straightforward manner, with no value judgments or conclusions about the National Security Adviser.
A memo released by Mueller’s office last week described how the FBI had known the facts of Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak before the agency approached him to do an interview in the White House.
The memo describes how Flynn told the agents that “no,” he had not sought to influence Russia’s vote on a United Nations Security Council resolution about Israeli settlements.
But investigators knew, according to charging documents filed last year, that Flynn had asked for Russia to vote against or delay the resolution.
The FBI memo described another Flynn lie which he made in answering a question the agents asked him about the expulsion of Russian diplomats and closing Russian properties following the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 election. They asked him if he had discussed these actions with Kislyak.
“Flynn responded, ‘Not really. I don’t remember.’ It wasn’t, ‘Don’t do anything,’ ” the memo said.
But the FBI knew that Flynn had asked Russia on that call not to escalate its response to the US.
The FBI memo also describes Flynn’s extensive contacts with Russian officials, as well as the trips he took to Russia. It goes into detail about Flynn’s close relationship with Ambassador Kislyak. The trips and the contacts with Russian government officials began back in 2013. At that time he was the Defense Intelligence Agency and he visited the Russian military intelligence headquarters in Moscow.
What Mueller has done is proven his critics wrong. Flynn was in bed with the Russians and told numerous lies in his attempts to cover it up. The memo released last night will remove any doubts that Michael Flynn deserved to be charged with numerous federal crimes.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.