Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team on Friday released key documents relating to the FBI’s questioning of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
The documents – some of which are heavily redacted — were released in response to U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordering prosecutors to hand over the government’s files and “memoranda” related to the FBI’s questioning of Flynn by Friday afternoon.
The documents include then-FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe’s notes after talking with Flynn to arrange his interview with the FBI. It also includes a so-called “302” report documenting what Flynn told anti-Trump agent Peter Strzok and one other agent during their conversation at the White House. That July 2017 report, though, specifically came from an interview with Strzok in which the Flynn encounter was discussed — and not the original Flynn interview.
The 302 report states that Strzok and the other agent “both had the impression at the time that Flynn was not lying or did not think he was lying.” It also states that several unnamed people back at FBI headquarters “later argued about the FBI’s decision to interview Flynn.”
The report described Flynn as “unguarded,” saying he “clearly saw the FBI agents as allies.” It also states Flynn discussed a number of “various subjects,” including things like hotels stayed in during the campaign, Trump’s “knack for interior design” and other issues un-related to their inquiry.
“Flynn was so talkative, and had so much time for them, that Strzok wondered if the national security adviser did not have more important things to do than have a such a relaxed, non-pertinent discussion with them,” it said.
It comes days after Flynn’s legal team made the bombshell allegation that the FBI pushed him not to bring a lawyer to his fateful Jan. 24, 2017 interview with agents at the White House.
The January 2017 interview with the FBI was the basis of Flynn’s guilty plea to making false statements in a deal with Mueller’s team. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying about whether he had talked to former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December 2016 on limiting the Russian government’s response to former President Barack Obama’s recently imposed sanctions for election meddling. Flynn was pushed out of the White House shortly after his interview for misleading Vice President Pence and other officials about those contacts.
Sullivan — who overturned the 2008 conviction of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens after government misconduct came to light — is weighing how to sentence Flynn, who pleaded guilty to one count of lying to federal authorities during the 2017 interview in the West Wing.
Sullivan also ordered the Flynn team to turn over documents backing up its assertions.
Flynn is set to be sentenced next Tuesday — it’s unclear whether that date could be delayed in connection with the new filings. Sullivan technically has the authority to toss Flynn’s guilty plea and the charge against him if he concludes that the FBI interfered with Flynn’s constitutional right to counsel, although he has given no indications that he intends to do so.
According to Flynn’s legal team, FBI agents in his case deliberately did not instruct Flynn that any false statements he made could constitute a crime, and decided not to “confront” him directly about anything he said that contradicted their knowledge of his wiretapped communications with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Over the weekend, former FBI Director James Comey admitted that he personally made the decision to send a pair of agents to interview Flynn in 2017, and acknowledged the arrangement was not typical for dealing with a White House official.
Asked to describe how two FBI agents ended up at the White House to interview Flynn in January 2017, Comey, speaking to MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace during a forum discussion Sunday, said flatly: “I sent them.”
Comey went on to acknowledge the way the interview was set up – not through the White House counsel’s office, but arranged directly with Flynn – was not standard practice. He called it “something I probably wouldn’t have done or maybe gotten away with in a more … organized administration.”
Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report.