We got taken for a ride, folks. That’s what Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel said in the wake of Michael Flynn being totally exonerated of his politically motivated charges that grew from the Department of Justice’s investigation into Russian collusion. His lawyer, Sidney Powell, said documents would point to a plot to entrap her client. She was right.
New documents show there was a plot to entrap Flynn on these shoddy "lying to the FBI" charges—and she said more were coming. Yesterday, the Department of Justice decided to drop its criminal case against the former national security adviser, who is a victim of the deep state, of the Russian collusion delusion peddled by the liberal media, and the Trump deranged political class in general. It’s tragic. These people tried to weaponize a phone call he had with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, which was a run-of-the-mill action for any incoming or new administration. What’s more, we know the FBI had nothing on Flynn—nothing. There was no evidence of Russian collusion. There was no Logan Act nonsense that could be proven. Even the FBI agents who interviewed him said they don’t believe he lied to them. And yet, the anti-Trump DOJ still went after him.
Strassel noted that with Flynn’s exoneration, there must be a full review of the Russian collusion probe headed by ex-Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Again, we got taken for a ride by the FBI, and now the special counsel it would seem, which is exactly what Strassel noted at the end of her column. She aptly noted that this was done as a cover job, to give an aura of legitimacy in the hopes of glossing over the bad behavior and overreach executed by the FBI in pursuing this collusion delusion.
Supposedly, this FBI counterintelligence probe started in July of 2016, with then-FBI Agent Peter Strzok being one of the key persons who signed off on it. He was fired for his anti-Trump texts he exchanged with his mistress, FBI lawyer Lisa Page. He’s a disgrace.
When James Comey was rightfully fired in May of 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who reportedly held conversations with other top DOJ officials about using the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump, appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to take over this probe as special counsel. Strassel noted why the memo regarding the scope of this investigation was kept secret—it was total garbage. Remember, this whole Russian collusion myth was born out of a political opposition research project funded by Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign. The Clinton campaign retained the services of Fusion GPS, which then hired ex-MI6 spook Christopher Steele to compile a document on Trump. Steele cited sources still active in the Kremlin and was fed Russian misinformation. The entire document was debunked ironically by the Mueller probe and the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on FISA abuses during the 2016 election.
The latter report was based on the FBI using the so-called Trump dossier to secure a spy warrant on a former Trump campaign official, Carter Page. The dossier was probably not vetted when cited as credible evidence since the errors in it could have been corrected with a simple Google search. What a fiasco. And with this Flynn case being torpedoed in epic fashion, thanks to new documents, a bunch of throwback actors, like Lisa Page, appear to have violated department policy regarding issuing interviewees warnings about lying to law enforcement:
1)Here's another important--if largely overlooked--aspect of the new Flynn documents. One new email has former FBI lawyer Lisa Page meditating on how FBI shud deal with its "policy" of giving an admonishment to targets about the penalties of lying to law enforcement— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) May 1, 2020
2) She asks if "policy" requires an admonition up front, or only when a subject offers a false statement. She wonders if FBI couldn't skirt the rule by agents just "casually" slipping in the admonishment to Flynn. The clear suggestion is that maybe they can not make a deal of it— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) May 1, 2020
3) But let's remember that, in the end, according to Andy McCabe documents, the FBI decided to give NO admonishment whatsoever. Flynn was never warned about lying, and also was discouraged from having lawyer, after the FBI also deliberately set up meeting outside of WH counsel.— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) May 1, 2020
4) So if we are to believe Page, this was an outright violation of FBI "policy" on admonishments. How often does FBI conduct interviews and not make that warning? I'd wager--given Page email--really, never.— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) May 1, 2020
These are the small but important questions that matter in a case like this. If Flynn was treated differently than other FBI subjects, the judge needs to know. FBI policy is there for a reason. The agents don't just get to ignore it because they deem it a more serious/urgent case— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) May 1, 2020
The motion to dismiss the Flynn case from the DOJ also torches the Logan Act claim peddled by some who still think Russia collusion was an actual thing.
Especially enjoy this DOJ "motion to dismiss" absolutely shredding Logan Act truthers, who are perhaps among the most annoying people on the internet pic.twitter.com/5dSbMHEP6W— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) May 7, 2020
The entire Mike Flynn saga -- the manufactured controversy, media leaks, his resignation/firing, and later guilty plea -- was a huge factor in why the "Russia scandal" became so all-consuming. Now the basis for the entire episode has been 100% proven to be a complete farce pic.twitter.com/JpDBqaO7xF— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) May 7, 2020
But let’s get to Strassel’s piece where she lays into the FBI/DOJ for their Russian collusion disaster (via WSJ):
In hindsight, the FBI’s Russia-collusion scandal always had two parts: the bureau’s indefensible probe of the Trump campaign and the coverup—the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.
That the latter probe was a coverup came into sharp relief this week with the Justice Department’s belated withdrawal of its case against former national security adviser Mike Flynn and the release of former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s “scope” memo. Both demonstrate that Mr. Mueller was named not to get to the bottom of Russia-related crimes but to legitimize the illegitimate decisions the FBI and Justice had made to that point, to squeeze “something” out of its disastrous escapade.
Mr. Rosenstein initially didn’t limit Mr. Mueller’s investigation to real crimes. His original May 2017 appointment letter gave the special counsel carte blanche to look into “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.” When he detailed the “scope” of Mr. Mueller’s duties in an Aug. 2, 2017, memo, the government guarded the document like Fort Knox—refusing to let even Congress view it. We now know why. The memo authorized the Mueller team to investigate a series of already debunked theories and noncrimes
He was authorized to probe the potential “crime” of Mr. Flynn “engaging in conversations with Russian government officials during the period of the Trump transition.” This is a reference to the Logan Act of 1799, a law that has never been used to convict an American. He was also tasked with investigating whether that foreign work by Messrs. Flynn and Papadopoulos violated the rarely enforced Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Prosecutors admitted in the Flynn withdrawal filing that the department concluded in early 2017 that a Logan Act claim would be too “difficult to prosecute.” The FBI had moved to close its counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn by January 2017, having found nothing on “collusion.” And the filing notes FBI interviewing agents felt Mr. Flynn hadn’t lied or didn’t think he was lying. So why on earth was Mr. Mueller allowed to go to town on Logan Act and lying charges?
They weren’t getting any Russia “collusion” charges. That was clear by the spring of 2017, and former FBI Director James Comey knew it would soon emerge that his bureau had made egregious errors. So he leaked his memo of conversations with Mr. Trump with the specific goal of getting a special counsel appointed. The Mueller probe—led by the very people who’d made those errors—then spent more than two years “investigating” bogus or derivative claims, keeping secrets, and giving the escapade a fiction of legitimacy.
Mr. Flynn got justice … but there will be no broader reckoning until we see the full record. That means not only FBI and Justice Department documents but full transparency and a review of the Mueller probe itself. The nation got taken for a ride, and it continued with the special counsel behind the wheel.
1) On the substance of the Flynn withdrawal: What separates our FBI from, say--ahem--Russian secret police is the requirement that they articulate the basis of an interview--an alleged crime. They can't just wander in an ask anybody anything.— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) May 7, 2020
2) FBI was hot on its Logan Act theory, but never opened an actual investigation on that basis. It instead used an open counterintelligence investigation (in which they'd found nothing on collusion) as its excuse to interview Flynn on completely unrelated points.— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) May 7, 2020
3) That's just not legit, and why DOJ now and correctly says that nothing Flynn said in that interview was "material" to the only open investigation--counterintelligence/collusion. DOJ is right to care about this important principle.— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) May 7, 2020
4) On Comey: The pages in the filing (6-7) on Comey's insubordinate behavior are eye-watering. They are a repeat of his behavior in the Clinton case (where he went around the AG).— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) May 7, 2020
5) He ignores the collective view of DOJ leadership and refuses to brief WH on the Flynn calls, then also ignores a Yates call so that his agents can sandbag Flynn. (And then later brags about this to Nicole Wallace?) McCabe doesn't come off looking very stellar either.— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) May 7, 2020
6) On Mueller: What the hell? Why was Rosenstein directing Mueller to look into Logan Act issues when his own department had dismissed that idea ? (More on that in my upcoming column..)— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) May 7, 2020
7)On politics: Those partisan commentators already piling on AG Barr are willfully ignoring that the man who made the call--U.S. attorney Jeff Jensen--was 10 years FBI and 10 years a career prosecutor. This was done by the book.— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) May 7, 2020
8) Instead of continuing to cover/apologize for FBI misconduct, they might instead try to relocate the principles they threw out the door in 2016. Flynn should never have been prosecuted.— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) May 7, 2020
Brutal. And remember that even members of MI6 were skeptical of the Trump dossier. Yes, I would say this is an incident worse than Watergate.
When the Mueller report was released, it was nice to see that no solid evidence to prove Russian collusion was found, though it looked like Mueller’s team tried really hard to find some. After multiple “bombshells” from the media turned out to be nothing burgers, I think most were confident that this story was trash. So, I didn’t care that Mueller’s team was made up of hardcore liberals. In the end, this only added more legitimacy to the conclusion of this sad saga. Sean Davis, The Federalist co-founder, noted how this crew tried to make collusion a thing—and couldn’t—while aptly noting that this whole probe was a political hit job. He was right. A lot of those who were skeptical of this witch hunt were vindicated.
And with Attorney General William Barr running the DOJ, maybe we will get that probe into the fake probe that was concocted to cover up the FBI’s bad deeds. First, he and US Attorney John Durham need to finish their review on how this Russia investigation got started in the first place. Could be a nice offshoot, huh?
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