The Washington Examiner columnist Byron York reported on Monday that then-FBI Director James Comey told Congress in March that FBI agents did not think that former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn had lied.
Of course, we now know that on December 1, 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about phone conversations he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before President Trump assumed office.
York said Comey had briefed a number of lawmakers on the Russia investigation amid concerns about the leak of the wiretapped Flynn-Kislyak conversation.
“According to two sources familiar with the meetings, Comey told lawmakers that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe that Flynn had lied to them, or that any inaccuracies in his answers were intentional,” York wrote. “As a result, some of those in attendance came away with the impression that Flynn would not be charged with a crime pertaining to the Jan. 24 interview.”
Flynn resigned under pressure after he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his phone conversations with the Russian ambassador.
He was interviewed by two agents on Jan. 24, 2017, and there was speculation he may have again lied, York noted. If so, that would be a felony offense — except for Hillary Clinton campaign staffers.
The lawmakers briefed by Comey are “baffled by the turn of events,” York said. Especially when considering that it was not illegal for Flynn to be speaking to Kislyak.
Something the FBI already knew, according to a Washington Post article dated Jan. 23, which said the bureau had reviewed the phone calls and “has not found any evidence of wrongdoing or illicit ties to the Russian government.”
York also noted that Flynn spoke with the FBI agents without a lawyer present.
The columnist detailed how fired deputy attorney general Sally Yates, who “went on to become a heroine of the Trump resistance,” took interest in Flynn’s case as acting attorney general, suspecting that he may have violated the obscure Logan Act.
“But to outside observers, mystery still surrounds the case,” York concluded. “To some Republicans, it appears the Justice Department used a never-enforced law and a convoluted theory as a pretext to question Flynn — and then, when FBI questioners came away believing Flynn had not lied to them, forged ahead with a false-statements prosecution anyway.
“The Flynn matter is at the very heart of the Trump-Russia affair, and there is still a lot to learn about it.”
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