I want to help the average citizen understand how egregious and dishonest the Mueller team was in bringing charges against Michael Flynn for lying to FBI agents about what he said to Russia's Ambassador in a telephone conversation, which was likely intercepted by the CIA. Michael Flynn did not do a damn thing wrong in that conversation and the notes from FBI agents Strzok and Pientka, which Sidney Powell finally pried loose after more than two years of the prosecutors hiding exculpatory evidence, do not support the Statement of Offense.
I suspect most of you reading this have never read the Statement of Offense. I am going to let you read for yourself the salient portions:
b. On or about December 28, 2016, the Russian Ambassador contacted FLYNN.
c. On or about December 29, 2016, FLYNN called a senior official of the Presidential Transition Team ("PTT official"), who was with other senior members of the Presidential Transition Team at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, to discuss what, if anything, to communicate to the Russian Ambassador about the U.S. Sanctions. On that call, FLYNN and the PTT official discussed the U.S. Sanctions, including the potential impact of those sanctions on the incoming administration's foreign policy goals. The PIT official and FLYNN also discussed that the members of the Presidential Transition Team at Mar-a-Lago did not want Russia to escalate the situation.
d. Immediately after his phone call with the PIT official, FLYNN called the Russian Ambassador and requested that Russia not escalate the situation and only respond to the U.S. Sanctions in a reciprocal manner.
e. Shortly after his phone call with the Russian Ambassador, FLYNN spoke with the PTT official to report on the substance of his call with the Russian Ambassador, including their discussion of the U.S. Sanctions.
Got that? Michael Flynn acted professionally and followed protocol. The Russian Ambassador called him. General Flynn called K. T. McFarlane, who was at Mar a Lago with the Trump Transition Team and asked for guidance on whether or not to respond and, if he was going to respond, what to say.
Michael Flynn's communication with Ambassador Kislyak was appropriate and wise–he asked the Russian Ambassador not escalate the situation and only respond to the U.S. Sanctions in a reciprocal manner. Please tell me what the hell is wrong, nefarious or stupid about that? NOTHING. Michael Flynn could have told the Russian that Obama was a moron and could have promised, "we will eliminate those sanctions on day one." He did not do either. Mike Flynn conducted himself with discretion and with professionalism.
But there is one other important piece of news in this Statement of Offense. Someone in the Obama Administration INTERCEPTED Mike Flynn's phone call to the Presidential Transition Team (aka PTT). Who did that? The NSA? The CIA? The FBI? That question needs to be answered because there was no legal basis to intercept this conversation.
As I noted in my previous article (see here), this was the conversation that Jim Comey and Andrew McCabe wanted to use as the pretext and predicate for keeping the investigation of Michael Flynn open.
Here is what Agents Strzok and Pientka wrote in one of their initial drafts of the 302 (i.e., the FBI record of their interview with Michael Flynn). Note–the original draft is still missing in action. The FBI is either incompetent or hiding it.
Michael Flynn said, according to Agents Strzok and Pientka, "I DON"T REMEMBER."
At no point did the Agents give him the chance to review the transcript, which they had in their hot little hands.
And Peter Strzok, in a subsequent interview with FBI Agents working for the DOJ Inspector General, said this on July 19, 2017:
The FBI Agents interviewing Strzok make it clear–"Strzok and Pientka both had the impression at the time that Flynn was not lying or did not think he was lying."
The record is very clear and you should now be able to understand why Michael Flynn's attorney was so outraged and why the Department of Justice is dismissing charges against Michael Flynn.
Robert Mueller and his prosecutors lied. Michael Flynn did not. It is that simple.
ex PFC Chuck says
It may be premature to write off Judge Sullivan’s initiative as indicative of anti-Trump/GOP bias. As Gen. Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell points out in the open letter to ex-President Obama posted on her website on May 13, 2020, this judge is known to be a stickler on prosecutory malfeasance. He may well be doing this to prevent the egregious misconduct in this case from being swept under the carpet.
One aspect that is not getting much attention in the unmasking is who leaked the classified info to WaPo? This is what put the pressure on Trump, who wimped out and fired Flynn.
One of the objectives of the cabal as now evidenced in the released notes.
It would appear that Barr at some point will have to call out prosecutorial misconduct. He can’t have it both ways – withdraw the prosecution and not call out the misconduct at the DOJ.
Maybe that’s what Sullivan is trying to tease out?
thanks for the wimped out talking point on yet another thread. When did you know that Flynn was first set up, just recently or while it was happening?
Jack, from the Investment Times:
“Federal judge Emmet Sullivan is signaling that he may pursue perjury or contempt charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn over his effort to abandon an earlier guilty plea to a charge of lying to the FBI.”
I believe that Flynn was, indeed, “set-up” and that the FBI and prosecutors behaved outrageously and unconstitutionally when they violated WH procedures in order to get access to interview him, violated his Miranda rights at the interview and his Brady rights afterwards, while using improper pressure to coerce an admission of lying out of Flynn.
However, I am still puzzled about the contours of the asserted lie[s] that General Flynn allegedly told in response to queries by the agents and VP as to whether he had discussed sanctions with the Ambassador, and their amelioration after the inauguration. This question is raised by parties who support the prosecution and who always retort, “if he wasn’t doing anything wrong, why did he have to lie.”
You seem to be indicating that the conversation with the Russian Ambassador was about the expulsions. Weren’t sanctions also discussed and, if so, what did Flynn say to the agents about sanctions (or not say) that was untruthful or misleading.
blue peacock says
This is going to be interesting. Judge Sullivan wants to pursue perjury for Flynn’s “flip-flop” from pleading guilty to then withdrawing it. In a way that makes sense as Flynn has made two contradictory statements to the court.
OTOH, so has the DOJ.
Will be interesting to see how all the parties respond to this.
I get it. Its Trump über alles with you.
What does when I knew Flynn was railroaded matter? Your BFF was the one that fired him and let him stew on his own. He could have listened to the call or read the transcript of the call before he did it. Of course he didn’t have to fire him if he had any guts. Now he’s shocked there’s no 302??
Keith Harbaugh says
Well, here’s Sundance’s theory on how the call was discovered:
The FBI had a pen register on Flynn’s GFE cellphone:
So Comey told Clapper about the call.
No, he’s an SOB, just the only one fighting for anything close to what I agree with.
“He could have listened to the call or read the transcript of the call before he did it.” Yes, he sure could. If he hadn’t fired him what was Paul Ryan going to do with his legislative agenda? If he hadn’t fired him what would have happened to his impeachment, been delayed until the Ukraine hoax? What does political reality mean in your world view?
As to the 302s, he is no more shocked at that missing evidence than you or I.
There is a legal distinction between a lie and a failure of accurate recall, and to my knowledge, the law does make allowances for the latter during witness questioning. Furthermore, in the FBI’s own post-interview summary, the interviewing agents Strozk and Pientka are said to have “had the impression that Flynn was not lying or did not think he was lying.” It’s right there in the document that Mr. Johnson posted in the article. If the interviewing agents themselves didn’t think he was lying, then it falls on the people who assert that he was lying to justify that stance based on something other than the agents’ own assessments at the time. Since none of those “if he didn’t do anything wrong” folks weren’t in the room, how can their stance hold any water anyway? To me, that argument has all the sophistication and validity of a she-said/she-said spat between a bunch of high school girls. You can brush that aside on its sheer ignorance of the law and of the established facts of the case.
As an aside, if there is no legal distinction between a lie under oath and a failure of accurate recall, then Samantha Power doesn’t have a leg to stand on, and she should be in for a world of perjury hurt for telling Congress she doesn’t recall any of the seven times she requested the unmasking of Flynn’s name in that intercepted call.
JP Billen says
Since Kislyak was in the US at the time, the intercept of the phone call was done by the FBI. Not the CIA or NSA. This is routine. Calls to not only the Russian Embassy but to many other foreign embassies are monitored for counter-intelligence. Kislyak knew or should have known his calls were monitored.
Yeah, Right says
blue peacock I would assume that it isn’t perjury to enter a plea, and if that is the case then it also can’t be perjury to alter that plea.
Perjury is a false statement of fact, offering an opinion isn’t. That has always been the case.
So pleading “guilty” or “not guilty” can only be regarded as an opinion offered by the accused to the court.
“Not guilty” = “I don’t think this jury will find against me”.
By definition that isn’t a statement of fact, merely an opinion.
And as with any opinion it is subject to change: Flynn was always within his rights to change his mind regarding his chances of acquittal.
Marc b. says
Poor Mike Flynn
Kushner’s errand boy for Israel
Does anyone (especially those of you who are deep state veterans) actually think that any of these swamp rats will be held responsible for this multi-year crime spree?
Durham is in no hurry.
Barr seems to be trying to balance his loyalty to the constitution against his swamp membership.
And whatever happened to that phantom Huber?
Hunting down the dozen non-Mormons in Utah?
Since Flynn requested official briefings before and after then Kislyak phone call, one assumes he also knew his call was being monitored. How did this become such an exercise in patent distortion.
Did Barry want to drop a load of doo doo on Trump at the 11th hour, when he kicked out the Russians and dropped the sanctions on them for their “proven election interference”?
That was my immediate feeling at the time – kind of a wag the dog in reverse – go ahead Trump, get out of this one. Bye. I’m outta here. You take the Russian phone calls now.
According to the Conservative TreeHouse link, sounds like Barry was in a snit because the Russians did not “over-react” the way Barry planned, so Trump’s day one job would not be putting out fires with the Russians that Barry had just started.
Barry was sorely perplexed. Jst why weren’t the Russians doing what he had planned for them to do – dump doo doo on the incoming President. Why weren’t they sabre rattling and putting incoming President Trump in his very first international incident, as Barry had intended.
Nope, the Russians went all chill instead. Who cared what a lame duck POTUS does anyway. Then Putin, invited all the Moscow foreign embassy kids over for a holiday party. No bombs, no threats, not even any pouts. What was up with that? Good will and good cheer towards all men, regardless of outgoing Boy President’s little sand box snit.
What could have gone wrong, the Russians are supposed to be mad and escalating Barry’s “decisive” actions. Let’s go snooping. And there begins one more chapter in Obamagate – Waaaaaa, the Russians didn’t do what I wanted them to do. I wanted them to rub schmutz in Trump’s face on Day One. Instead they offered us cookies and holiday crackers.
And in the process Team Obama left a nefarious paper trail. Thank you Susan – aka Lady McBeth- Rice – your CYA memo for this final Obama Russian caper simply did not pass the smell test. Barry was beaked the Russians did not start WWIII.
Bill H says
I believe you are mistaken on your point. When you enter a guilty plea a judge will then as specifically ask, “You are pleading guilty because you are guilty?” If you do not answer, under oath, in the affirmative then the plea is not accepted and you proceed to trial.
The law, in effect, does not formally accept the concept of plea deals.
Yeah, Right says
Bill H I must be wrong then. I was under the impression that “You are pleading guilty because you are guilty” is asked when the accused wishes to terminate the proceedings mid-trial i.e. change a “not guilty” plea into a “guilty” plea during the trial itself when – obviously – the accused is under oath.
It was my understanding that the initial plea is not given under oath, the “not guilty” plea is what sets the trial in motion, and it is only then that the accused is “sworn in” and the accused is under oath. I take it that isn’t correct either.
David S says
Paragraph A of the Statement of the Offense specifically refers to Executive Order 13757. That’s the sanctions order. That’s what Mueller charged Flynn with lying about talking to Kislyak about. But Flynn did not talk to Kislyak about sanctions, and didn’t say he did. He said he talked to Kislyak about expulsions, an order of the State Dept. which is not part of EO 13757. Flynn didn’t lie, anyway, but he certainly didn’t lie about discussing sanctions, because he didn’t discuss the sanctions *which Mueller explicitly, by reference to the order, calls out*.
You didn’t include paragraph A in your quote from the Statement of the Offense, but it is the most important one–because it makes clear Flynn did not talk to Kislyak about its actions at all. And that, and only that, is the sanctions Mueller based his charge on.
2 things you left out of the article Flynn was on vacation out of the country when the Ambassador called him first. Now the Ambassador was probably being monitored by the CIA are one of our three agents agencies. Therefore it was legal to monitor the Ambassador. Kicked they’re people out of our country wow Flynn was out of the country which forced the ambassador to inquire about what’s going on. A coincidence I think not. And notice there is no questions on the sanctions. The only question was inquiry why they were kicked out and what he thought about it
As always, Larry, you are on it. The twists and turns as this saga unfolds before our very eyes is mind boggling. You do a great job focusing on the core issues and this article is no exception. Great work.
A couple of items that pertain to your article that you may find of interest –
Stephen McIntyre – @ClimateAudit – May 13
“from time to time, both @HansMahncke and myself have observed that the word “sanctions” didn’t actually occur in the Flynn 302, yet was used over and over in the Flynn Statement of Offense. Today I noticed something that I hadn’t noticed before and AFAIK is not in pleadings” – https://twitter.com/ClimateAudit/status/1260741832390201347
What if ‘sanctions’ were never discussed in the Strzok/Pientka interview of Flynn? What if only ‘expulsions’ were discussed? Without the original 302 one is left to surmise. McIntyre adds some pieces to this puzzle.
Dan Bongino goes much further than sundance did regarding the Flynn/Kislyack call. Recall, Flynn was vacationing in the Dominican Republic when Kislyack phoned him from DC about Obama’s order to shutdown the Russian assets and kicked out 35 diplomats (or whatever you wish to call them). The ‘sanctions’ were announced separately, and days later, from the initial expulsion announcement.
Bongino’s show ‘Obama did it’ – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/obama-did-it-1251/id965293227?i=1000474734005
Barbara Ann says
For any of you who may not have seen Kayleigh McEnany’s bravura performance yesterday when asked about #Obamagate I’d highly recommend watching this extract from the press briefing. Whatever your political persuasion it is clear she is a 1000 fold improvement on poor Mr Spicer. With people like McEnany and Grenell, it seems like Trump if finally finding some really competent people for his administration.
Barbara Ann says
Stephen McIntyre has just added another interesting observation on the sanctions issue. He notes that the Mueller sentencing memo of December 18, 2018 includes the following definition of “sanctions”:
In the Statement of Offense, “U.S. Sanctions” is defined as those imposed by Obama’s EO 13757. It seems clear Mueller’s team knew Flynn never discussed these and moved the goalposts by redefining the term to include the diplomatic expulsions also.
In any case, I agree with Larry’s view that it was a perfect call, as they say. See this and the wider thread:
Keith Harbaugh says
Update: Sundance has written a post on the McCarthy article mentioned above, with some additional information:
I’m sympathetic with your position. As JerseyJeffersonian noted in another thread hindsight is 20/20.
Since I’m not vested in either Trump or the duopoly I call balls & strikes as I see them.
IMO, Trump threw Flynn under the bus out of expedience. The heat was on with the media amping up Russia Collusion and Flynn was a natural target as at least he knew a little bit about the national security apparatus. Flynn as Col. Lang has noted is a naive Irishman from RI. He got sacrificed in the power play and Trump was too weak to back him.
Of course Trump did not have and still doesn’t have the traditional Republican party machinery behind him. However, once Adm. Rogers had informed him of the surveillance he must have known what he was up against. A good Machiavellian would expose the deceit and duplicity and importantly the threat to the republic to rally the people to demand accountability. He’s had numerous opportunities and in particular early when Devin Nunes uncovered the conspiracy and implored him to declassify. Instead he listened to his nominee Rosenstein who set him up with Mueller/Weissman. My conjecture is that his character flaw of being at the core a bullshit artist prevented him from being bold and confident that the people would back him in an ugly war against the powerful confluence of the national security apparatus, the media and the political establishment.
I had believed he held much promise in reversing the sway of the “Borg” and break the transnational “enterprise” that David Habakkuk has so eloquently described. I have no illusion now that he’ll do any of that. At best we’ll get whatever Barr seems worthy. Maybe a fall guy or two.
Looks like Brennan’s hand finally got forced – he is now willing to talk (spin?) his version of Flynn, Russia and the other infamous phone call. Things finally got traced back to Obama and Brennan – will Brennan take one for the team or will he rat on Barry? Or will he pull a Biden and claim he dindu nuffin.
I certainly took in your comments, as well as those of David Habbakuk, in that earlier referenced thread; your points were well taken. But I persist in my belief that Trump was not well positioned to go on a counterattack, at least a very effective counterattack at that earlier time.
Yes, Nunes (as well as other observers such as CTH’s poster, Sundance), saw the outline of the conspiracy early on, and wanted to act at that point in time with the information likely available at that time. But for whatever reason, Trump being back on his heels and overwhelmed, or his prioritizing other projects in his agenda despite the resistance of Democrats and GOP never-Trumpers, did not act at that time. Maybe it would have worked, but we will never know.
But I see some signs that Trump and his people are getting a leg over: the aggressive declasifications of testimony before Schiff’s committee; the FBI raiding Sen. Burr, and taking his cell phone for examination (purportedly for an investigation of insider trading, but perhaps by way of leaving a horse’s head on his pillow for his role in the conspiracy, more where that came from, Burr…). These may indicate that the investigations of Mr. Durham are progressing swimmingly, or perhaps these moves are to put heat to the feet of AG Barr to not settle for the token fall guys of which you wrote, but rather to go for the jugular. Well,of course that would be my preference, but if wishes were horses…
It is my belief that the continuance of the Republic is at issue, and one hopes that action commensurate with the seriousness of the issue is forthcoming; otherwise, bye bye rule of law, so long Constitutional order. It comes down to this in my estimation. It is a war for the soul of the nation. These are the stakes.
Hopefully, should the fight be won, those harmed by the acts of the seditionists not only will be be vindicated, but also they will be made whole, insofar as this is possible. In the case of Gen. Flynn, as he has sworn to uphold and to defend the Constitution, he already knows that, as unjust as his personal fate may have been, his duty remains that of a man who swore that oath. May God give him strength and resolve.
Larry I have been closely following your Flynn articles but you neglect to mention his contacts with turkey.not the Thanksgiving one either.Turkey is no no.everything else flows from there.