A Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) employee involved in an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn had reportedly claimed President Donald Trump "was right" in his assessment of a 2017 intelligence briefing pertaining to the Russia probe, reported The New York Post, citing a court filing.
Federal court documents, filed by Michael Flynn's lawyers in the US District Court of Columbia on 24 September, are shown by the outlet to contain staffers’ exchanges on the FBI’s “Lync” messaging system in connection with ex-President Barack Obama's intelligence briefing on 5 January 2017 pertaining to alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
An unnamed FBI employee is claimed to have asked another:
"What's the word on how [Obama's] briefing went?"
The FBI colleague reportedly answers:
"Don't know but people here are scrambling for info to support certain things and it's a mad house… Trump was right. Still not put together... Why do we do this to ourselves. What is wrong with these people."
Additional text messages by an FBI employee on 10 January 2017 were also cited by Flynn’s lawyers, saying that analysts "all went and purchased professional liability insurance" because they were worried that "the whole thing is pretty ugly."
Identities of the FBI employees involved in the reported conversation are blacked out in the District of Columbia federal court filing.
There has not yet been an official comment on the report by the FBI.
The Russia Probe
On 4 January 2017, President-elect Donald Trump, who had repeatedly expressed doubt regarding the Kremlin’s alleged meddling in the 2016 vote, posted a series of tweets where he taunted the CIA, FBI and other agencies, suggesting they still didn’t possess evidence that Russia had penetrated Democratic party computers and handed over the documents to WikiLeaks.
The "Intelligence" briefing on so-called "Russian hacking" was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2017
The following day, after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared on Fox News to dispel allegations that the Russian government had provided WikiLeaks with stolen Democratic documents, Trump followed up his tweets with a fresh post that wondered how the Democratic National Convention (DNC) could have been so “careless”.
Julian Assange said "a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta" - why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2017
Donald Trump had made reference to emails and documents that hackers accessed on computers of the Democratic National Committee and from Hillary Clinton campaign chief John Podesta, subsequently published by WikiLeaks in the weeks leading up to the election.
Michael Flynn, who served as Trump's national security adviser before he resigned, in December 2017 pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI about contacts between Russian officials and the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.
In January 2020, he withdrew his guilty plea, citing breach of the plea agreement.
Following the 2016 US presidential election, US lawmakers launched multiple probes, alleging collusion between then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian officials. The most prominent of these was the US Justice Department probe headed by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, which failed to uncover any evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.
Russia has repeatedly denied interfering in the US political system as running contrary to the principles of its foreign policy.
US President Donald Trump has similarly denied collusion with Russia in the 2016 election.