An explosive new court filing from Gen. Michael Flynn’s legal team lays out in shocking detail, how high-ranking FBI officials plotted to entrap Trump’s short-lived national security adviser.
Sidney Powell, Flynn’s lead council, filed a 37-page brief on Thursday alleging that FBI agents manipulated official records of the January 2017 ambush interview that led to him being charged with lying to investigators. Powell is urging the court to “dismiss the entire prosecution for outrageous government misconduct.”
Powell’s bombshell filing comes amid news that U.S. Attorney John Durham’s ongoing probe into potential FBI and Justice Department misconduct has transitioned into a full-fledged criminal investigation.
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s upcoming report on alleged FBI surveillance abuses against the Trump campaign will shed light on why Durham’s probe has become a criminal inquiry. Horowitz announced on Thursday his report would be available to the public soon, with “few” redactions.
In her last filing, Powell accused “certain elements in the government” of targeting Flynn for destruction because he had “publicly expressed intent to audit the intelligence agencies where billions of dollars are unaccounted for.”
Flynn eventually pleaded guilty to making false statements to anti-Trump agent Peter Strzok and another agent regarding his conversations with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Documents related to the questioning, however, indicated the agents did not believe at the time that Flynn intentionally lied to them. Flynn’s FBI 302—a form used by agents to report or summarize interviews—was later altered to reflect that he had purposefully lied, Powell alleges.
According to Powell, a team of “high-ranking FBI officials orchestrated an ambush-interview of the new president’s National Security Advisor, not for the purpose of discovering any evidence of criminal activity—they already had tapes of all the relevant conversations about which they questioned Mr. Flynn—but for the purpose of trapping him into making statements they could allege as false.”
Powell alleges that texts between FBI lovebirds Peter Strzok and Lisa Page reveal that “the upper echelon of the FBI” orchestrated the hit on Flynn.
The corporate media played a major role too. In the days following the publication of the Clinton and DNC-funded anti-Trump dossier, Strzok texted Page excitedly: “Sitting with Bill watching CNN. A TON more out. . . We’re discussing whether, now that this is out, we can use it as a pretext to go interview some people.”
Powell reveals that over next two weeks, there were “many meetings” between Strzok and [former FBI Deputy Director Andrew] McCabe to discuss “whether to interview National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and if so, what interview strategies to use.”
Then “on January 23, the day before the interview, the upper echelon of the FBI met to orchestrate it all. Deputy Director McCabe, General Counsel James Baker, Lisa Page, Strzok, David Bowdich, Trish Anderson, and Jen Boone strategized to talk with Mr. Flynn in such a way as to keep from alerting him from understanding that he was being interviewed in a criminal investigation of which he was the target.”
Next, fired FBI Director James Comey’s decided to “screw it” in contravention of longstanding DOJ protocols,” and McCabe “personally called Flynn to pave the way for the uncounseled conversation.”
“In short, they planned to deceive him about the entire scenario, and keep him ‘unguarded,’” Powell claimed. She stressed that “Comey and McCabe were executing their own agenda—not investigating a crime,” and went on to claim the government is hiding evidence “of the original 302, other exculpatory texts, and other forms of information completely.”
Comey’s notes on the decision to interview Flynn were not turned over to defense, nor were the notes of then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates’ even though she had opined that the interview “was problematic” and “it was not always clear what the FBI was doing to investigate Flynn,” according to Powell.
In a sealed statement, Strzok confirmed that the “agents did three briefings the day of the interview,” and that Flynn “had a sure demeanor, and he was telling the truth or believed he was—even though he did not remember it all.”
The FBI and DOJ went on to write “an internal memo dated January 30, 2017, exonerating Mr. Flynn of acting as an ‘agent of Russia’” expressing no concerns of a possible Logan Act violation, according to the filing.A couple of weeks later, all that changed with the help of a malicious leak to the media.
“On February 10, 2017, the news broke—attributed to ‘senior intelligence officials’—that Mr. Flynn had discussed sanctions with Ambassador Kislyak, contrary to what Vice President Pence had said on television previously.”
Flynn’s 302 was substantially changed overnight according to Powell: “Those changes added an unequivocal statement that ‘FLYNN stated he did not’—in response to whether Mr. Flynn had asked Kislyak to vote in a certain manner or slow down the UN vote.”
“This is a deceptive manipulation” Powell explained, “because, as the notes of the agents show, Mr. Flynn was not even sure he had spoken to Russia/Kislyak on this issue. He had talked to dozens of countries.”
Overnight, someone also added a line indicating Flynn had been questioned on whether “KISLYAK described any Russian response to a request by FLYNN.”
While the agents’ actual notes do not include that question or answer, Powell pointed out that it was later included in the criminal offense charges against Flynn. And “the draft also shows that the agents moved a sentence to make it seem to be an answer to a question it was not,” Powell added.
The day after those changes were made, Strzok texted Page asking: “Also, is Andy good with F 302?” Page replied: “Launch f302.”
Powell argues: “Neither Mr. Flynn nor his former counsel had any of these documents or knowledge of the plethora of information discussed above when Mr. Flynn entered his plea.”
In the filing, Powell also referred to a purported conversation between former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Washington Post reporter David Ignatius, claiming Clapper told the reporter “words to the effect of ‘take the kill shot on Flynn,’” after he allegedly obtained the transcript of Flynn’s phone calls.
A spokesman for Clapper denied the allegation in a statement to Fox News, saying that he “absolutely did not say those words to David Ignatius.”
“It’s absolutely false,” the spokesman said. “It’s absurd.”
Powell also claims that the official who leaked the transcripts of the calls to Ignatius was a Pentagon official who was Stefan Halper’s “handler.”
Halper, an American professor, has been widely reported as a confidential source for the FBI during the bureau’s original investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Halper, in 2016, contacted several members of the Trump campaign including former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and former aides Carter Page and Sam Clovis.
“The evidence the defense requests will eviscerate any factual basis for the plea and reveal the conduct so outrageous—if there is not enough already—to mandate dismissal of this prosecution for egregious government misconduct,” Powell wrote.
Also in the filing, Powell notes that U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras, the judge who accepted Flynn’s guilty plea, was “suddenly and inexplicably recused” days later.
A conflict of interest was revealed last year when text messages showed that Contreras and Strzok had a personal relationship.
“The government knew that well in advance of Mr. Flynn’s plea that Judge Contreras was a friend of Peter Strzok and his recusal was even discussed in an exchange of multiple texts,” Powell wrote, referencing text messages between Strzok and Page where they discussed Strzok and Contreras speaking “in detail” on anything “meaningful enough to warrant recusal.”
This filing is just the latest in a series of motions Powell has brought to the court on behalf of Flynn. Last week, she demanded federal prosecutors turn over two BlackBerry phones that were used by Western intelligence asset Joseph Mifsud, aka “the mysterious Maltese Professor” who allegedly told Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos that the Russians had thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails.
After many months of delay, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan has set sentencing date of Dec. 18 for Flynn.