Things are going to get interesting in the Michael Flynn sentencing review; not because of the recently release documents [Here – and Here – and Here] but rather because it appears Judge Sullivan suspects what we’ve previously outlined.
In addition to the documents, Judge Sullivan is asking the DOJ to provide the transcript of the 12/29/16 call between Mike Flynn and Ambassador Kislyak.
Why is this important? Because it appears Judge Sullivan suspects the transcript of the phone call will match statements from Flynn to the FBI. Ergo Flynn did not lie to the FBI.
Since reviewing the November 30th, 2017, pleading we’ve been pointing out how the FBI admits to intercepting the Flynn-Kislyak call, but the FBI never put a factual transcript in the court record. Why not?
It’s a long, but necessary, story.
On December 29, 2016, President Obama announced a series of sanctions against Russians who were located in Maryland. This was Obama’s carefully constructed response to provide additional validity to the Joint Analysis Report. After fueling the Russia conspiracy for several weeks the Obama administration knew this action would initiate a response from both Russia and the incoming Trump administration.
After the December 29, 2016, sanctions against Russia, the Obama IC were monitoring Kislyak communications and watching for contact with the incoming Trump administration.
Additionally, it is suspected Flynn may have been under a FISA surveillance warrant which seems confirmed by the Weissmann/Mueller report. The FBI intercepted, recorded, and later transcribed the conversation. [Notice how Judge Sullivan says: “and any other audio recordings”; ie he’s suspecting additional surveillance.]
In the January 2017 background, the media were continuing to follow the lead from the Obama White House, and Intelligence Community (writ large), by fueling a narrative that any contact with Russians was proof of collusion of some sort. In addition, the communications team of the Obama White House, DOJ, FBI and aggregate IC began pushing a narrative surrounding the obscure Logan Act.
The ridiculous Logan Act angle was promoted by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, and targeted to infer that any action taken by the Trump campaign prior to taking office was interference with the political Obama Russia action. Any contact with Russian government officials would be evidence of collusion. That was the plan. DOJ Deputy AG Sally Yates was in charge of pushing the Logan Act narrative to the media.
The first two weeks of January 2017 was a merging of two necessary narratives: (1) Russian interference; and (2) the Logan Act. Each deployed against any entity who would counter the Russia narrative story.
The media were running this dual narrative 24/7 against the incoming Trump officials and demanding repeated answers to questions that were framed around this story-line.
On January 3rd, 2017, the new congressional year began. SSCI Vice-Chair Dianne Feinstein abdicated her position within the Gang-of-Eight, and turned over the reigns to Senator Mark Warner. Warner was now the vice-chair of the SSCI; and a Go8 member.
On January 6th, 2017, the Obama White House published the Intelligence Community Assessment, and declared:
We assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence. (pdf link)
It is not coincidental the ICA was “high confidence” by Brennan and Clapper; and less confidence by Mike Rogers (NSA).
With the Flynn Dec. 29, 2016, transcript in hand, the DOJ and FBI began aiding the Logan Act narrative with Obama intelligence officials supporting the Russia Conspiracy claims and decrying anyone who would interfere or counter the official U.S. position.
On January 14th, 2017, the content of the communication between Flynn and Kislyak was leaked to the Washington Post by an unknown entity. Likely the leak came from the FBI’s counterintelligence operation; the same unit previously carrying out the 2016 campaign spying operations. [Andrew McCabe is highly suspected]
The FBI CoIntel group (Strzok, McCabe etc.), and the DOJ-NSD group (Yates, McCord etc.) were the largest stakeholders in the execution of the insurance policy phase because they were the epicenter of spygate, fraudulent FISA presentations and the formation of the Steele Dossier.
The media leak of the Flynn conversation with Kislyak was critical because the DOJ/FBI were pushing a political narrative. This was not about legality per se’, this effort was about establishing the framework for a preexisting investigation, based on a false premise, that would protect the DOJ and FBI. The investigation they needed to continue evolved into the Mueller special counsel. This was all insurance.
The Flynn-Kislyak leak led to Vice-President Mike Pence being hammered on January 15th, 2017, during a CBS Face the Nation interview about Trump campaign officials in contact with Russians. Pence was exceptionally unprepared to answer the questions and allowed the media to blend questions about campaign contacts with necessary, and entirely appropriate, transition team contacts.
•Sunday January 15th, 2017 – VP-elect Mike Pence appears on Face The Nation. [Transcript Here]
JOHN DICKERSON: But there’s a distinction between that feeling about the press and legitimate inquiry, as you say, that the Senate Intelligence Committee is doing.
Just to button up one question, did any advisor or anybody in the Trump campaign have any contact with the Russians who were trying to meddle in the election?
MIKE PENCE: Of course not. And I think to suggest that is to give credence to some of these bizarre rumors that have swirled around the candidacy. (link)
*NOTE* The incoming administration was under a false-narrative siege created by the media. At the time (early Jan, 2017) ‘any contact’ with Russians was evidence of meddling/election-collusion with Russians. VP-elect Mike Pence poorly answered the question from Dickerson from a very defensive position.
The toxic media environment and Mike Pence speaking poorly during a Face The Nation interview now became a much bigger issue.
Once Vice-President Mike Pence made the statement that Flynn had no contact with anyone from Russia etc. any contradictory statement from Flynn would make Pence appear compromised. Michael Flynn is now contrast against Pence’s false point without clarification. As National Security Advisor Flynn was interviewed by the FBI on January 24th, nine days after Pence made his comments.
•Tuesday January 24th – Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn was interviewed at the WH by the FBI.
During this ambush interview, disguised as a meeting, FBI Agent Peter Strzok and FBI Agent Joe Pientka were contrasting Vice-President-elect Pence’s statements to CBS against the known action of Mike Flynn. [Flynn has three options: either (1) Flynn contradicts Pence, or (2) he tells a lie; or (3) Flynn explains Pence misspoke, those were his options.]
How Flynn responded to the line of inquiry, and explained/reconciled the difference between Pence’s statement on Jan 15th and what actually took place on December 29th, 2016, is why the FBI ended up with the initial conclusion that Flynn wasn’t lying.
It is within this dynamic where the FD-302 reports, written by Strzok and Pientka, then became the subject of political manipulation by Asst. FBI Director Andrew McCabe.
The FBI knew the content of the Flynn call with Sergey Kislyak because they were listening in. The FBI were intercepting those communications. So when Pence said no-one had any contact on January 15th, the FBI crew IMMEDIATELY knew they had an issue to exploit.
We see the evidence of the FBI knowing they had an issue to exploit, and being very nervous about doing it, in the text messages between Lisa Page and FBI Agent Peter Strzok who would end up doing the questioning of Flynn.
The day before the Flynn interview:
♦January 23, 2017, the day before the Flynn interview, Lisa Page says: “I can feel my heart beating harder, I’m so stressed about all the ways THIS has the potential to go fully off the rails.” Weird!
♦Strzok replies: “I know. I just talked with John, we’re getting together as soon as I get in to finish that write up for Andy (MCCABE) this morning.” Strzok agrees with Page about being stressed that “THIS” could go off the rails… (Strzok’s meeting w Flynn the next day)
[We’re not sure who “John” is, but we know “Bill” is Bill Priestap, FBI Deputy Director in charge of Counterintelligence. And “Jen” is Jennifer Boone, FBI counterproliferation division]
So it’s the day before they interview Flynn.
Why would Page & Strzok be stressed about “THIS” potentially going off the rails?
The answer is simple: they knew the content of the phone call between Mike Flynn and Sergey Kislyak because they were listening in, and they were about to exploit the Pence statement to CBS. In essence they were admitting to monitoring Flynn, that’s why they were so nervous. They were planning and plotting with Andrew McCabe about how they were going to exploit the phone-tap and the difference in public statements by VP Mike Pence.
There’s a good possibility Flynn was honest but his honesty contradicted Pence’s national statement on CBS; and Flynn likely tried to dance through a needle without being overly critical of VP-elect Pence misspeaking. Remember, the alternative: if Flynn is brutally honest, the media now runs with a narrative about Vice-President Pence as a national liar.
•Wednesday January 25th, 2017, – The Department of Justice, National Security Division, (at this timeframe Mary McCord was head of the DOJ-NSD) – received a detailed readout from the FBI agents who had interviewed Flynn. Yates said she felt “it was important to get this information to the White House as quickly as possible.”
•Thursday January 26th – (morning) Yates called White House Counsel Don McGahn first thing that morning to tell him she had “a very sensitive matter” that had to be discussed face to face. McGahn agreed to meet with Yates later that afternoon.
•Thursday January 26th – (afternoon) Sally Yates traveled to the White House along with a senior member of the DOJ’s National Security Division, “who was overseeing the matter”, that is Mary McCord. This was Yates’ first meeting with McGahn in his office, which also acts as a sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF).
Yates said she began their meeting by laying out the media accounts and media statements made by Vice President Mike Pence and other high-ranking White House officials about General Flynn’s activity “that we knew not to be the truth.”
According to Sally Yates testimony, she and Mary McCord presented all the information to McGahn so the White House could take action that they deemed appropriate. When asked by McGahn if Flynn should be fired, Yates answered, “that really wasn’t our call.”
Yates also said her decision to notify the White House counsel had been discussed “at great length.” According to her testimony: “Certainly leading up to our notification on the 26th, it was a topic of a whole lot of discussion in DOJ and with other members of the intel community.”
•Friday January 27th – (morning) White House Counsel Don McGahn called Yates in the morning and asked if she could come back to his office.
•Friday January 27th – (late afternoon) According to her testimony, Sally Yates returned to the White House late that afternoon. One of McGahn’s topics discussed was whether Flynn could be prosecuted for his conduct.
Specifically, according to Yates, one of the questions *McGahn asked Yates: “Why does it matter to DOJ if one White House official lies to another?” She explained that it “was a whole lot more than that,” and reviewed the same issues outlined the prior day.
[*If you consider that McGahn was trying to thread the needle between Mike Pence’s poorly worded response to CBS, and Michael Flynn’s FBI questioning that came after Pence’s statement, McGahn would see the no-win situation Flynn was in during that inquisition.]
McGahn then expressed his concern that taking any action might interfere with the FBI investigation of Flynn, and Yates said it wouldn’t: “It wouldn’t really be fair of us to tell you this and then expect you to sit on your hands,” Yates claims to have told McGahn.
McGahn asked if he could look at the underlying evidence of Flynn’s conduct, and she said they would work with the FBI over the weekend and “get back with him on Monday morning.”
•Friday January 27th, 2017 – (evening) In what appears to be only a few hours later, President Trump is having dinner with FBI Director James Comey where President Trump asked if he was under investigation. Trump was, but to continue the auspices of the ongoing investigation, Comey lied and told him he wasn’t.
This why the issue of how the FBI agents write the 302 summary of the Flynn interview becomes such an important facet. We see that dynamic again playing out in the messages between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok; with Andrew McCabe providing the guidance.
Don’t forget, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was likely the person who leaked the content of the Mike Flynn phone call between Flynn and Russian Ambassador Kislyak to the Washington Post. A massive leak of highly classified information:
Within the case against Michael Flynn, prosecutor Brandon Van Grack later filed a cover letter attempting to explain the reason for the Flynn interview on January 24th, 2017, and a delay in the official filing of the interview notes (FD-302) on February 15th, 2017, and then another edit on May 31st, 2017.
To explain the FBI delay, Van Grack claimed the FD-302 report “inadvertently” had a header saying “DRAFT DOCUMENT/DELIBERATIVE MATERIAL” (screen grab)
What the special counsel appeared to be obfuscating was a process of deliberation within the investigative unit, headed by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, surrounding the specific wording of the 302 report on the Flynn interview. Likely how best to word the FBI notes for maximum damage.
In late 2018 Prosecutor Brandon Van Grack was attempting to hide the length of the small group deliberations within the FBI. In hindsight it seems he did not want the court to know Andrew McCabe was involved in shaping how the Flynn-302 was written.
However, we know there was a deliberative process in place, seemingly all about how to best position the narrative, because we can see the deliberations in text messages between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok: See below (note the dates):
The text message conversation above is February 14th, 2017.
The Michael Flynn FD-302 was officially entered into the record on February 15th, 2017, per the report:
The interview took place on January 24th, 2017. The FD-302 was drafted on January 24th, and then later edited, shaped, and ultimately approved by McCabe, on February 14th, then entered into the official record on February 15th.
It was a deliberative document from the outset. Thanks to the Strzok/Page text messages we know the cover letter from the Special Counsel is misleading. The Feb 15th, 2017, date was the day after McCabe approved it (three weeks after the FBI interview).
May 17th, 2017, Robert Mueller was assigned as special Counsel. Then, the FD-302 report was re-entered on May 31st, 2017, removing the header; paving the way for Mueller’s team to use the content therein.
This level of overt corruption, and corrupt intent within the special counsel, is one of the more brutally obvious reasons why authorizing Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein should be regarded as participating in a political framing against the Trump White House.
The FBI interpretation of the Flynn interview was the way the DOJ and FBI could control the interview content; and specifically because the only recourse Flynn would have to contradict that FBI interpretation would be to compromise the Vice President… Flynn cannot openly challenge the structure of the narrative within the 302 outline.
See what happened?
Does it all make sense now?
Do you see why there are reports of the second FBI agent, Joe Pientka, saying he didn’t believe Flynn lied to them in the interview. Likely because Flynn didn’t lie; but the McCabe crew jumped on the opportunity to frame a lose/lose. Either Flynn accepts a version of the 302 report where he lied; or, Flynn has to take the position that Vice President Mike Pence lied to the nation in the CBS Face The Nation interview.
See how that went down?
However, after Weissmann and Mueller enter the picture, they need to force Flynn to admit to the construct of the 302 as presented. For that they need some leverage.
The original authorization for the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller was May 17th, 2017. The recently released Weissmann report shows there were two additional scope memos authorizing specific targeting of the Mueller probe. The first scope memo was August 2nd, 2017, OUTLINED HERE, and is an important part of the puzzle that helps explain the corrupt original purpose of the special counsel.
The second scope memo was issued by Rod Rosenstein to Robert Mueller on October 20th, 2017. The transparent intent of the second scope memo was to provide Weissmann and Mueller with ammunition and authority to investigate specific targets, for specific purposes. One of those targets was General Michael Flynn’s son, Michael Flynn Jr.
As you review the highlighted portion below, found on pages 12 and 13 of the Weissmann report, read slowly and fully absorb the intent; the corruption is blood-boiling:
This second scope memo allowed Weissmann and Mueller to target tangentially related persons and entities bringing in Michael Cohen, Richard Gates, Roger Stone and Michael Flynn Jr. Additionally this memo established the authority to pursue “jointly undertaken activity“.
The four identified targets within the original July 2016 investigation, “Operation Crossfire Hurricane”, were George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort and Carter Page. (See HPSCI report):
General Flynn was under investigation from the outset in mid-2016. The fraudulent FBI counterintelligence operation, established by CIA Director John Brennan, had Flynn as one of the early targets when Brennan handed the originating electronic communication “EC” to FBI Director James Comey on/around July 31st, 2016.
The investigation of General Flynn never stopped throughout 2016 and led to the second investigative issue of his phone call with Russian Ambassador Kislyak:
The first redaction listed under “personal privacy” is unknown. However, the second related redaction is a specific person, Michael Flynn Jr.
In combination with the October 2017 timing, the addition of Flynn Jr to the target list relates to the ongoing 2016/2017 investigation of his father for: (1) possible conspiracy with a foreign government; (2) unregistered lobbying; (3) materially false statements and omissions on 2017 FARA documents; and (4) lying to the FBI.
This October 20th, 2017, request from Weissmann and Mueller aligns with the time-frame were special counsel team lawyers Brandon L. Van Grack and Zainab N. Ahmad were prosecuting Michael Flynn and cornering him into a guilty plea.
Getting Rosenstein to authorize adding Mike Flynn Jr. to the target list (scope memo #2) meant the special counsel could threaten General Flynn with the indictment of his son as a co-conspirator tied to the Turkish lobbying issue (which they did) if he doesn’t agree to a plea. Remember: “jointly undertaken activity“.
Forcing a plea for ‘lying to investigators‘ by threatening prosecution for FARA violations was the identical strategy used against both George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn.
The October 20th, 2017, expanded scope memo authorized Mueller to start demanding records, phones, electronic devices and other evidence from Mike Flynn Jr, and provided the leverage Weissmann wanted. After all, Mike Flynn Jr. had a four month old baby.
The amount of twisted pressure from this corrupt team of prosecutors is sickening. A month later, General Flynn was signing a plea agreement: