Monday, December 17, 2018

Russiagate: Where's the Flynn 302?

The missing Flynn 302s are still the big thing.  302s are the notes of an interview that the FBI makes instead of, you know, actually taping an interview, so you can be sure that they say exactly what the FBI wants them to say. Just a reminder from Red State that In Submission To Judge Sullivan, Mueller Omits Original FBI 302 Report From Flynn Interview, Submits 302 Prepared Six Months Later, making it look a lot like the FBI has something to hide. ‘WHERE is Flynn’s original 302?!’ Kimberley Strassel RIPS Comey’s testimony and the Deep State apart even MORE and WOW

They did submit an interview with Peter Strzok, shortly before his somewhat premature departure from the Mueller for aggravated assholery (getting caught being a rabid partisan by the IG Horowitz) instead, six months after the interview. This is now the only evidence before the court that Flynn lied to the FBI agents. But Andy McCarthy, who I normally defer to, takes the prosecution position that Lying Seems Likely.
The investigation was unfair from the start, but yes, it appears that he did lie.
At the outset, let’s get two things straight:

First, there is something deeply disturbing about the Obama administration’s decision to open a counterintelligence investigation on retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn while he was working on the Trump campaign — and, ultimately, about the Justice Department and the FBI’s decision to dispatch two agents to interview Flynn at the White House, in a highly irregular manner, on Flynn’s third day as national security advisor.

Second, Flynn nevertheless lied to the agents.

These two matters have been conflated. We need to sort them out.

It is an article of faith among ardent Trump supporters not merely that Flynn should not have been investigated, but that he is innocent of the false-statements charge to which he pled guilty.

This has become impossible to buy — and not just because, to believe Flynn told the agents the truth, you must believe that (a) he lied to the court when he pled guilty and (b) he is still lying to the court in his sentencing memo, in which he claims that sharp FBI practices hoodwinked him into lying.
And, they were threatening to send Flynn's son to jail if he didn't plead guilty. But still, he notes in another column, Where Is the Flynn 302?
My purpose in this post is not to rehash the column. It is to highlight something I address in the middle: the missing FBI report of Flynn’s interview on January 24, 2017 — i.e., the Flynn 302. As I write in the column:
It was only after Mueller was appointed in May 2017 that the investigation of Flynn appears to have picked up steam and a false-statements plea was finally negotiated in late November.
There are many peculiarities about this. Pressing at the moment, for example, is the special counsel’s release yesterday of the FBI report (the “302” form) pertaining to Flynn’s interview. Media reports had said that even though Flynn was interviewed on January 24, 2017, the 302 documenting the interview was not completed until August 22, 2017, seven months later. Clearly, this raises the possibility that the interview report was drafted not when the agents formed their initial impressions, but months later when the special counsel was squeezing Flynn and there was a motive to make the interview appear more deceptive than it seemed at the time.
To my eye, the situation is even more disturbing than the press reporting suggests. It appears that there is no 302 of the Flynn interview. The 302 dated August 22, 2017, which Mueller submitted to the court, documents an interview of Peter Strzok, not of Flynn. It appears that this interview of Strzok took place on July 19, notes of the interview were drafted the next day (July 20), and the 302 was approved and entered into the FBI’s files on August 22. The question obviously arises: Where is the Flynn 302? FBI procedures would have called for a report within a few days of the interview. It is not that there wasn’t one for seven months. For now, it looks like none has been produced at all.
I think that if the FBI can't produce the original 302, Judge Sullivan needs to throw out the charges with prejudice, and award full restitution to Flynn, which shouldn't be a problem, because although Mueller Investigation Cost $25 Million So Far, Report Says. It’s Pulled in $48 Million From Tax Cheats. I have no problem letting Manafort and Cohen pay the bill.  In Michael Flynn’s Ordeal and Ours Michael Ledeen reminds us why the intel community might have had it in for Flynn:
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan is scheduled to sentence General Mike Flynn on Tuesday morning, and there’s a lot at stake. To begin with, there’s the future of a fine man who transformed the way we do battlefield intelligence and the ensuing operations against our enemies in Iraq, where we won in large part because Flynn’s (and General Stan McChrystal’s) new tactics, and then in Afghanistan, again in tandem with McChrystal.

General Flynn’s radical reforms were not embraced by our top brass in the Pentagon, or by officials in the intelligence community. because he effectively relocated our warfighting decisions from Washington to the battlefield, weakening the bureaucrats and strengthening our men and women in the field. He thereby greatly increased the speed and accuracy of our operations. He also enhanced the status of lower-level officers and enlisted soldiers.
. . .
Second, is the importance of slapping down a corrupt justice and intelligence leadership, whose behavior in the Flynn affair should enrage and frighten all concerned citizens. It is incredible to say that after two years, we do not know what happened. We do know that Flynn’s principal FBI accusers have mostly been fired for lying, while Flynn still faces a possible jail sentence. But no CIA or NSA or NSC officials, who illegally “unmasked” Flynn to the Washington Post, have been charged with anything. Justice still refuses to release documents that might explain it all. Intolerable! Hell, we don’t even know who called whom as between McCabe and Flynn. And the bureau apparently has caused to disappear the 302 of the Strock/Pientka/Flynn conversation. And Comey’s claims change daily.

I’ve been told, I believe reliably, that General Flynn had either ordered, or intended to order, a full accounting of decades of intelligence community malfeasance. This was likely to reveal vast sums of money that were never spent to carry out the missions for which they were appropriated. This would have intensified the IC’s desire to get rid of him.

Then there is the Robyn Gritz scandal. Ms Gritz is a decorated retired FBI agent, who worked the counterterrorism beat, with laudable results. Then she found that she’d been singled out for harsh treatment. She filed a sexual discrimination suit, and the bureau—think Comey and McCabe—poured it on. Flynn, who had worked with Gritz, voluntarily wrote a letter to the court that attested to her high moral and ethical standards. No doubt the men atop the bureau feared Flynn might testify against their judgment, providing yet another motive to go after him.
Although it has appeared in a few long gone Russiagate posts, I'd forgotten about the Robyn Gritz matter. Hinderacker at Powerline: Will the Mueller Switch Project Collapse?
The sentencing of General Michael Flynn could turn out to be the Waterloo of the Mueller Switch Project. The feds never could have convicted Flynn of perjury or lying to government officials–they don’t even have a transcript of what he said to the FBI! As a criminal case, it was always a non-starter. The Justice Department initially had no intention of prosecuting. But then, after Robert Mueller took over the case, Flynn was squeezed into a single guilty plea by the threat of personal bankruptcy. As Byron York asks, what changed?

I think there is a significant chance that Judge Sullivan may refuse to accept General Flynn’s guilty plea and instead issue an opinion blasting Bob Mueller for prosecutorial misconduct. If that happens, Mueller will ride off into the sunset in the ignominy he so richly deserves.
He did it in the Sen. Ted Stevens prosecution, when Mueller was FBI director. I don't think Mueller expected to try Flynn before him. But in a paean to Mueller, the WaPo writes Robert Mueller is the most unknowable man in Washington

Diamond and Silk note how ignorant James Comey seems to be on important matters in Dems Were Behind It All Along: Buried in Comey Docs Is Identity of Person Who Gave Info to the FBI
And it wasn’t something that Comey said, but information that came out during smart questioning by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC). In the transcript at pages 130-140:
Mr. Meadows. Let me ask one clarifying question… you were saying that you had no knowledge that Perkins Coie was actually involved with the Democrat National Committee and involved in this particular investigation that ultimately was initiated. Is that correct?
Mr. Comey. I, when I was FBI Director, don’t remember ever being told anything about Perkins Coie. I think I’ve since read stuff in the media, but not when I was Director.
Now watch the hammer drop.
Mr. Meadows. So are you saying that James Baker, your general counsel, who received direct information from Perkins Coie, did so and conveyed that to your team without your knowledge?
Mr. Comey. I don’t know.
Mr. Meadows. What do you mean you don’t know? I mean, did he tell you or not?
Mr. Comey. Oh, I — well —
Mr. Meadows. James Baker, we have testimony that would indicate that he received information directly from Perkins Coie; he had knowledge that they were representing the Democrat National Committee and, indeed collected that information and conveyed it to the investigative team. Did he tell you that he received that information from them?

So basically, they’re saying that Baker, the FBI general counsel, testified the FBI was getting information directly from the Democrats (i.e. Perkins Coie who represented both the DNC and the Clinton campaign). They are the folks who hired Fusion GPS to get info on Donald Trump.
Comey has been a font of ignorance, confusion and prevarication. Whenever he is asked about the Steel Dossier, he likes to claim it was funded by Republicans. It's true the Fusion GPS collected anti-Trump info for the Washington Free Beacon early on, but the stuff from Steele came after the Democrats started funding it (and probably through the machinations Sid "the shiv" Blumenthal and his buddy Cody. Carl Cannon at RCP: A Justice Department Coup?
Cohen has pleaded guilty to three felony counts, two of them campaign finance violations. A federal judge gave him three years in federal prison. The court filings said Cohen was acting at the direction of “Individual-1,” who everybody knew to be Trump, meaning that the president is now the unindicted co-conspirator of a convicted felon.

Why didn’t Cohen fight this indictment based on a dubious legal theory? Apparently, like Paul Manafort, he’d been cheating on his taxes, an easier charge to prove, and one carrying lengthier prison terms.

Now a new precedent has been set, with troubling ramifications. For starters, prosecutors and judges are now expanding the criminal law on their own volition. Justice Department prosecutors tried this gambit once before and a jury laughed it out of court. It happened in the 2012 trial of John Edwards, a former North Carolina senator and Democratic presidential candidate. Edwards had orchestrated payments from wealthy donors of $1 million to his girlfriend who’d had a baby -- while Edwards wife was dying of cancer. Not content to let Edwards’ derailed career be his punishment, federal prosecutors charged him with six felony counts. A jury acquitted him of one count and deadlocked on the others, with most jurors favoring acquittal.
. . .
Tellingly, the FEC had not ruled that Edwards’ expenditures violated the law. Under the precedent set in Cohen’s case, a candidate who got his teeth fixed, or had lap band surgery, or settled a lawsuit for Trump University – that is, anything that might help a campaign -- is now committing a felony unless it’s reported publicly.
. . .
There’s a Ghost of Christmas Future, too. A year ago, the federal Office of Compliance revealed that in the previous 20 years it had spent $17 million in taxpayer money to settle 260 cases of job-related claims against members of Congress and other officials and agencies in the legislative branch. Nobody in the government would say how many were sex cases, although this slush fund came to light after the disclosure of two cases of sexual misconduct against sitting members of Congress.

Will such settlements – or any non-disclosure agreements -- now be considered felonies? What other imaginative expansion of criminal law will prosecutors and judges concoct? Are Democrats willing to live with this precedent, which won’t die when Trump leaves office? Are Republicans? Are the American people? Because if they can to do it to a president, they can do it to you.
President Trump is still putting people to work as Strip club offers Stormy Daniels job to help pay off Trump’s legal fees
Scores must have the biggest heart in the stripping business.

The ever-thoughtful jiggle giant has offered to help Stormy Daniels pay nearly $300,000 in President Trump’s legal fees — by working in its clubs.

Daniels was told to cough up the cash after her defamation suit — in which she claimed Trump had defamed her by saying she lied about her alleged affair with him — was dismissed by a judge.
Bless their hearts.
Not a option for Michael Cohen: Trump borrows ‘rat’ nickname for Michael Cohen from Matt Drudge. Giving rats everywhere a bad name. I mean, what did they ever do except spread the plague? And that was hundreds of years ago!

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