Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe derided the Justice Department’s decision to drop its criminal case against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn Thursday as “pure politics designed to please the president.”
In a statement, McCabe sketched out the reasoning behind the FBI’s interview of Flynn, which the DOJ attacked in Thursday’s filing.
“The FBI was obligated to interview him to better understand why he was talking to Russian officials,” McCabe said. “During the interview, he lied about the substance of his conversations with those officials.”
“The Department’s position that the FBI had no reason to interview Mr. Flynn pursuant to its counterintelligence investigation is patently false, and ignores the considerable national security risk his contacts raised,” he added.
In the motion to dismiss the charges, signed by U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Timothy Shea, the FBI is painted to have acted in bad faith during the investigation.
“The government is not persuaded that the Jan. 24, 2017, interview was conducted with a legitimate investigative basis and therefore does not believe Mr. Flynn’s statements were material even if untrue,” it said.
The motion also made the claim that because the FBI already had transcripts of Flynn’s calls with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, there was no need to interview him, an act “undertaken only to elicit those very false statements and thereby criminalize Mr. Flynn.”
The dismissal of the case against Flynn, during which he has pleaded guilty twice, is the newest step in Attorney General Bill Barr’s redirection of the DOJ in regards to cases originally brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.
President Donald Trump found out that the dismissal had been made public Thursday during a press gaggle.
“He was an innocent man,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “He is a great gentleman. He was targeted by the Obama administration and he was targeted in order to try and take down a president, and what they’ve done is a disgrace, and I hope a big price is going to be paid.”
“Now in my book he’s an even greater warrior,” he added.
Read McCabe’s full statement here:
“We opened the Russia investigation to determine if the Russian government coordinated with the Trump campaign. Mr. Flynn had prominent, high level interactions with Russian officials, so we investigated whether he might be that point of coordination. We received incontrovertible evidence that Mr. Flynn spoke to the Russian ambassador on more than one occasion, that he actively tried to influence the actions of Russian officials, and that those officials acceded to his requests. The FBI was obligated to interview him to better understand why he was talking to Russian officials. During the interview, he lied about the substance of his conversations with those officials. His lies added to our concerns about his relationship with the Russian government. Later, under oath in Federal Court, he twice admitted to lying to the FBI.
“The Department’s position that the FBI had no reason to interview Mr. Flynn pursuant to its counterintelligence investigation is patently false, and ignores the considerable national security risk his contacts raised. Moreover, the Department’s position contradicts the findings by both the Special Counsel and the Office of the Inspector General.
“Today’s move by the Justice Department has nothing to do with the facts or the law — it is pure politics designed to please the president.”