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House Minority Whip Steve Scalise is furious over the Obama administration’s targeting of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, telling Newsmax TV on Monday that “people need to go to jail” for setting him up.
“The first thing that needs to happen is real accountability,” Scalise, Louisiana Republican, told host Sean Spicer. “[Rep.] Devin Nunes, my colleague from California, has been beating this drum for years. He started digging in, exposing the fact that you had what we called dirty cops in the FBI.”
Flynn was President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser. He was forced to resign about a month into the administration for allegedly misleading Vice President Mike Pence about a phone conversation Flynn had with a Russian diplomat during the transition.
Pence has since said he’s now “inclined, more than ever ” to believe that Pence did not deliberately mislead him, especially after bombshell evidence was released late last month showing FBI agents including former agent Peter Strzok plotted to catch Flynn in a perjury trap so they could charge him or get him fired.
In his Newsmax interview, Scalise made it clear that he has a great deal of respect for the FBI in general but said some “bad apples” targeted Flynn and they ought to be held responsible for it.
“There were people in the FBI, probably all the way up to the top, who were plotting to undermine the elected president of the United States,” Scalise said. “That shouldn’t happen to anybody from any party and everybody ought to be outraged, no matter what your affiliation.”
“This might happen in third-world nations,” Scalise said, adding that “we already know” the names of some of the people allegedly involved, including Strzok and his one-time lover, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
“I don’t know if it goes all the way up to [former FBI Director James] Comey, but boy it sure looks like it does, when they make reference to the seventh floor,” Scalise said.
Scalise added that he believes the Justice Department needs to hold people accountable so that others within the agency and the bureau get the message that targeting a president’s administration in the future will come with consequences.
“Why should they care who the president’s national security adviser is?” Scalise said. “I mean, I’m sure everybody has a preference on who they voted for, but you check your partisanship at the door when you wear that badge.
”You’re not supposed to let your personal affiliation interfere with the job you do, and clearly these people did. And that’s why it is very frustrating.”
Strzok’s alleged role in targeting Flynn does not jibe with what then-Director Comey reportedly told Congress during February 2018 testimony. Comey said agents reported to him that they didn’t think Flynn lied to them.
“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,” the Washington Examiner’s Byron York reported at the time. “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.”
All said, former U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) told Fox News earlier this week he didn’t think anyone would be charged in connection with Flynn’s set-up.
“No ma’am,” he replied when host Martha MacCallum asked him about the prospect of potential charges.
“I was talking to a federal prosecutor on the way over here. But we have got to not only associate accountability with prosecutions,” he said, frustrated. “I think being a terrible FBI agent and treating people unfairly, maybe it ought to be a crime, but I don’t think it is a crime.”
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