FBI ‘tricked’ former National Security Adviser into not having lawyers present
California Republican Rep Darrel Issa has claimed that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s case against Michael Flynn will be soon thrown out of court when all interview documents are handed over to the judge.
Flynne admitted he lied to federal authorities investigating potential Russian meddling during the 2016 election.
Issa claims were made just days before FBI director James Comey is set to testify again before House Republicans
A memo was filed Tuesday revealing that Flynn was told not to have lawyers present.
General Flynn’s lawyers requested the judge for no jail time and instead “to sentence him to a term of probation not to exceed one year, with minimal conditions of supervision, along with 200 hours of community service.”
Mueller’s team says Flynn served on a “range of issues,” including “interactions between individuals in the Presidential Transition Team and Russia.”
The Daily Mail Reports: The committee is interviewing Comey regarding decisions the FBI made in 2016, including whether there was collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign through the presidential election.
‘Tomorrow is going to be a very different day for Comey, particularly in light of what we’ve learned – the misconduct during the Flynn investigation was all about, thanks to a judge that demanded to understand what happened,’ Issa said.
This week US District Judge Emmet Sullivan requested both the Mueller investigation and Flynn’s team to turn over all documents associated with the fateful 2017 interview.
Flynn claimed in a court filing on Tuesday that the FBI pushed him toward having no lawyer present for his January 2017 interview.
His attorneys pointed the finger at then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe – claiming he pushed Flynn not to have an attorney present for the questioning.
They claimed the FBI threatened to take the matter to the Justice Department if Flynn were to seek counsel before sitting down with its agents.
‘I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [Flynn] and the agents only,’ McCabe wrote in a memorandum reported by Fox News.
‘I further stated that if LTG Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House Counsel for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. [General Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants.’
The FBI was not required to make clear to Flynn that he had the right of attorney, because he was not in custody.
But Issa believes the cards are stacked in Flynn’s favor.
‘I would not be surprised a bit if the conviction of Flynn is overturned because of the Justice Department FBI’s misconduct,’ he said.
‘When the FBI and the Department of Justice lies to someone and tricks them into making statements, and then charges them with a lie they entrapped them.’
‘This is conduct that we haven’t seen in a long time.’
Meanwhile, Mueller has argued that Flynn, a veteran US official, ‘does not need to be warned it is a crime to lie to federal agents, to know the importance of telling them the truth.’
The special counsel said that Flynn was ‘undoubtedly aware, in light of his “many years” working with the FBI, that lying to the FBI carries serious consequences.’
‘Nothing about the way the interview was arranged or conducted caused the defendant to make false statements to the FBI,’ Mueller’s Friday court filing stated.
‘The seriousness of the defendant’s offense cannot be called into question, and the court should reject his attempt to minimize it.’
Judge Sullivan will be working to conclude whether or not agents used coercion to obstruct Flynn’s constitutional right.
Apparently, if provided with reasonable proof that agents acted coercively, Sullivan could throw out the charges against Flynn on those grounds.
However, he has not shown that he plans to do so, according to Fox News.
Trump’s former National Security Adviser is due to be sentenced on Tuesday.
Last week Mueller’s office said that Flynn’s cooperation – including 19 meetings with investigators – was so thorough that he was entitled to avoid prison when he is sentenced.
Mueller repeated this desire in his Friday court filing, writing that if Flynn ‘”continues to accept responsibility for his actions, his cooperation and military service continue to justify’ no prison time.
Flynn’s lawyers also asked a judge to spare him prison, saying he had dedicated his career to his country and taken accountability for an ‘uncharacteristic error in judgment.’
He later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations during the presidential transition period with the then-Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak.
Asked about the contents of these conversations during the interview at his office in the White House in the days following Trump’s inauguration, Flynn told agents he did not discuss sanctions with Kislyak.
However, an audio recording of the December 29, 2016 phone call, which was tapped by US intelligence officials, proved he had.
Flynn will become the first White House official punished in the Special Counsel’s ongoing probe into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
In court papers Tuesday, he requested probation and community service for his false statements.
The filing comes as lawyers for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort said they were still determining whether to oppose accusations that he lied to investigators and breached his plea agreement.
A judge gave Manafort until January 7 to respond to prosecutors’ allegations that he deceived them about his interactions with an associate who they say has ties to Russian intelligence and with Trump administration officials.
The defendants, their fortunes sliding in opposite directions, represent starkly different paths in Mueller’s investigation – a model cooperator on one end and, prosecutors say, a dishonest and resistant witness on the other.
Even as prosecutors recommend no prison time for Flynn, they’ve left open the possibility they may seek additional charges against Manafort, who is already facing years in prison.
Since his guilty plea a year ago, Flynn has stayed largely out of the public eye and refrained from discussing the Russia investigation despite encouragement from his supporters to take an aggressive stance.
Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, spent three decades in the military, including five years in combat.
In a public statement after his plea, Flynn has said he cooperated with prosecutors because it was in ‘the best interests of my family and our country.’
In Manafort’s case, prosecutors have accused him of repeatedly lying to them even after he agreed to cooperate.
They say Manafort lied about his communications with a longtime associate they say has ties to Russian intelligence, his contacts with Trump administration officials, and other matters under investigation by the Justice Department.