Federal Bureau of Investigation lawyer Dana Boente has resigned after 38 years due to pressure from the Justice Department, after facing criticism for his role in the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
"Few people have served so well in so many critical, high-level roles at the Department. Throughout his long and distinguished career as a public servant, Dana has demonstrated a selfless determination to ensure that justice is always served on behalf of our citizens. While it will be difficult to replace Dana, I am committed to ensuring that the next general counsel is experienced, objective, and prepared to lead the men and women who make up this vital part of the FBI’s mission," FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement.
Boente, who had also been acting assistant attorney general of the National Security Division and US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, has come under fire for his handling of the case against Flynn.
Flynn pleaded guilty December 2017 to lying to FBI investigators about conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak regarding a United Nations resolution on Israel - Flynn has since rescinded his plea, and the Justice Department is seeking to drop the case.
In late April, a couple of right-leaning news outlets reported Boente had concealed exculpatory evidence related to Flynn. These reports were amplified by Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, who said on his show, "Shocking new reports suggest FBI General Counsel Dana Boente was acting in coordination with FBI Director Christopher Wray to block the release of that evidence that would have cleared Gen. Flynn."
Wray picked Boente to be the FBI’s general counsel in January 2018, and he went on to play a key role in the agency’s Trump-Russia investigation - Senator Lindsey Graham, chair of the Judiciary Committee, named him as a possible target for subpoena as part of the panel's probe of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricanecounterintelligence investigation into potential collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s December report into Crossfire Hurricane criticised the FBI for at least 17 “significant errors and omissions” related to FISA warrants against Page in 2016 and 2017 and for the Bureau's reliance on former MI6 operative Christopher Steele’s utterly discredited dossier. Recently declassified footnotes show the FBI was aware the document’s content may have been compromised by Russian intelligence and used it anyway.
The report noted Boente and other DOJ officials who signed off on the applications “did not have accurate and complete information at the time they approved them”.