In January 2017, top FBI officials considered prosecuting then-National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn as they discussed motivations for interviewing him, according to internal FBI documents unsealed on Wednesday.
The notes were unsealed through a consent agreement between Flynn’s lawyers and the Department of Justice (DOJ).
“What is our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?", one of the notes reads.
Another note refers to the so-called Logan Act, which was enacted in 1799 and has never been used in a criminal prosecution. The act’s goal was to keep individuals from falsely claiming to represent the US government abroad.
“If we get him [Flynn] to admit to breaking the Logan Act, give facts to DOJ and have them decide … or, if initially lies, then we present him [REDACTED] and he admits it, document for DOJ, and let them decide how to address it”, according to the note.
The documents indicate FBI agents’ apparent push to discuss different ways to handle Flynn, with one note reading “I don't see how getting someone to admit their wrongdoing is going easy on him”.
"If we’re seen as playing games, WH [White House] will be furious", another document suggests.
The notes were unsealed as former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell, who is now Flynn’s lawyer, told Fox News on Wednesday that “it's just absolutely appalling what these agents, and then special counsel operatives, did to General Flynn”.
Powell accused FBI agents of abusing “their authority at every turn”, adding that he interprets the unsealed documents as “absolutely damning of their conduct and their plan”.
“They rejected the advice of the apparent lawyer who wrote on the handwritten note that they not play games with the White House and instead that is exactly what they did”, he pointed out.
Trump Calls Flynn ‘Wonderful Man’
The remarks came after US President Donald Trump touted Flynn on Tuesday as a “wonderful man” who had “a wonderful career”, keeping mum, however, on the possible reappointment of the retired general, following his potential exoneration.
“It was a disgrace what happened to General Flynn. Let’s see what happens now”, POTUS told reporters. This was preceded by Trump tweeting in March that he is "strongly considering a full pardon" of the general.
So now it is reported that, after destroying his life & the life of his wonderful family (and many others also), the FBI, working in conjunction with the Justice Department, has “lost” the records of General Michael Flynn. How convenient. I am strongly considering a Full Pardon!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2020
Flynn served as National Security Adviser on Trump's team until he resigned on 13 February 2017 over reports of his alleged talks with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak amid the 2016 election campaign.
Following an FBI investigation into the matter as part of a broader Russia probe, Flynn pleaded guilty to deliberately making "false and fraudulent statements" to the FBI about his contacts with Kislyak.
Since then, Flynn's sentencing has been postponed on several occasions, as he began backtracking on his plea and claiming that he was tricked by the FBI into lying to them in the first place.
The retired general’s sentencing hearing was indefinitely postponed in February 2020 following intervention by US Attorney General William Barr who earlier ordered the review of “communications and notes” belonging to FBI personnel involved in the investigation of Flynn.