It's widely believed that the Obama Deep State effort to frame Flynn may have begun as early as 2014. The animus toward Flynn was almost certainly fueled by his insistence on expressing his view that the rise of ISIS was the result of a knowing policy decision by the Obama administration. It's also probable that personal conflicts with other IC players like John Brennan (CIA) and James Clapper (DNI), as well as a very personal conflict with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe played into this.
What form this effort took in its early stages is, as yet, unknown to the general public. No doubt, following Flynn's retirement from his position at the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in August, 2014, the Deep State kept an eye on Flynn's activities and his continuing interviews in which he blamed the Obama Deep State for the rise of ISIS. However, as the early stages of the race to replace the Obama administration began to shape up, Flynn was consulted by several Republican presidential campaigns, including: Carly Fiorina, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump. By December, 2015, Flynn was very much a target for the Deep State and the Clinton campaign.
It was on December 10, 2015, that Flynn attended a gala dinner in Moscow in honor of RT (formerly "Russia Today"), sitting at the same table as Vladimir Putin. It appears that this event plus the allegation that Flynn had had an affair with a Russian-born UK academic, Svetlana Lokhova, was cobbled together and used to initiate a Full Investigation of Flynn by the FBI. The allegation, and the smear that Lokhova was a Russian agent, was disseminated by (among other Deep State operatives) the CIA/FBI asset Stefan Halper.
While the time frame is not entirely clear, and the investigation may not have been initiated until Flynn was asked in February 2016 to serve as an adviser to the Trump campaign, we do know this. When the FBI officially opened its Crossfire Hurricane investigation of the Trump campaign at the end of July, 2016, it was opened as an "enterprise counterintelligence investigation." That means that the FBI was claiming that a subgroup of the Trump campaign was acting as an "enterprise" that was an agent of a foreign power--Russia. Disgraced former FBI Director James Comey, in testimony to Congress, described the subjects of Crossfire Hurricane as "four Americans," and one of those Americans was Michael Flynn.
That sets the stage for the "Flynn case" as we know it, involving the business of Flynn's telephone conversations with the Russian ambassador.
At this stage we need to be clear about one thing--something that the FBI did not do. At no time between the opening of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation at the end of July, 2016, and the FBI interview of Flynn on January 24, 2017, did the FBI brief candidate Trump, President-elect Trump, or President Trump that Michael Flynn--either as a campaign adviser or later as National Security Adviser--was regarded by the FBI as an agent of the Russian intelligence services.
That is extraordinary, and yet it has scarcely been remarked upon. The FBI is the lead counterintelligence (CI) agency of the United States government, tasked with preventing or uncovering threats to our national security in the form of agents of foreign intelligence services. The president has the absolute right to know of such threats, and the FBI has an absolute duty to brief the president on such threats--certainly when the person under suspicion was first an adviser to the new president's campaign and then was made National Security Adviser. There could hardly be a greater threat to the national security than that. And yet the FBI said nothing about this to the president.
Was that because the FBI seriously believed that President Trump was an agent of Russia--under the direction and control of Vladimir Putin--and thus could not be trusted with such sensitive information? I doubt that. Trump was, in any case, privy to vast amounts of incredibly sensitive national security information. The real reason was almost certainly because the Deep State was engaged in a plot against the president, and the method of first choice--after the leak of the Steele "dossier" had failed--was to attack President Trump by bringing down Michael Flynn.
What we need now is a bit of perspective on this business of the FBI "opening investigations" on people--people like Michael Flynn or Donald Trump. Part of our legal and constitutional heritage is the two concepts of "rule of law" and "due process." It is emphatically not part of that heritage that the government--here meaning: the FBI--should open investigations against people that it simply dislikes or with whose politics or policies they disagree. Investigations are to be against crimes, not against persons per se.
This constitutional principle is embodied in the Attorney General's Guidelines that govern FBI investigations. Thus, with regard to Full Counterintelligence investigations, the FBI must conform to these criteria:
Predication Required for Full Investigations:
A Full Investigation may be initiated if there is an articulable factual basis for the investigation that reasonably indicates that one of the two conditions specified above (with regard to Preliminary Investigations) exists.
As I added in A Guide To Spygate, Informants, FISA,
Does this suggest why the FBI and DoJ are so intent on preventing Congress from reading the EC that opened the Crossfire Hurricane Full Investigation on July 31, 2016? It should, because that EC would have had to state the "articulable factual basis" for the investigation. In other words, the EC would have had to assert that there were specific, verified facts indicating that a threat to national security actually existed, and it would have had to explicitly state what those facts were. When someone determinedly attempts to withhold a document of that sort from Congress I think we're entitled to draw some adverse conclusions. (Slightly edited from the original.)
And so, too, the FBI, when it opened it's Full Investigation of Michael Flynn, would have had to state, in writing and with specificity, an articulable factual basis that reasonably indicated ... that Michael Flynn was acting as an agent of the Russian intelligence services.
Wouldn't you love to read that memo or EC? So would Sidney Powell. She understands exactly what was going on, and how the lack of Predication runs like a thread through the entire case, the factor that the FBI and Team Mueller are always trying to direct our attention away from, by repeating like a mantra that "Flynn lied," "Flynn pled guilty," "nothing else matters." But as Powell wrote most recently:
The government has known since prior to January 24, 2017, that it intended to target Mr. Flynn for federal prosecution. That is why the entire “investigation” of him was created at least as early as summer 2016 and pursued despite the absence of a legitimate basis. ...
Former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe as much as admitted the FBI’s intent to set up Mr. Flynn on a criminal false statement charge from the get-go.On Dec. 19, 2017, McCabe told the House Intelligence Committee in sworn testimony: “[T]he conundrum that we faced on their return from the interview is that although [the agents] didn’t detect deception in the statements that he made in the interview ... the statements were inconsistent with our understanding of the conversation that he had actually had with the ambassador.” ...
In other words, how would the agents go into the interview expecting false statements. Powell, the former prosecutor gets this:
Had the FBI not intended all along to create a false statement case, there would have been no “conundrum” at all. The matter simply would have concluded with the interview. Further, there would have been no comment about “a false statement case”—because no such case would be assumed. Finally, there would be no lamenting the “poor start” of a false statement case, because there would not have been “a start.” False statement cases normally arise incidentally when government agents are investigating a matter and the interviewee makes a misstatement about that matter. Agents then seek to get to the truth by giving 1001 warnings to coax truthful information from the suspect. But here, to use Strzok’s own words, the investigation was “a pretext;” the object of the interview was to secure, rather than prevent, a 1001 violation. The “poor start” further reveals Mr. McCabe’s determination to create a case despite the agents’ belief Mr. Flynn was telling the truth.
And from this we can also see that Powell's (and Flynn's) disclosure requests are not simply a fishing expedition. The EC that opened the Flynn investigation was classified at least as SECRET. Flynn's original legal team never had access to classified information, so they never knew the actual basis for opening the investigation of Flynn. In fact, Flynn may for quite a while have assumed that the FBI was telling the truth, and that the prosecution he faced had only to do with his conversations with the Russian ambassador. But that was certainly not the case. The supposed interest in the conversation with the ambassador--which they had already listened to--was, as Peter Strzok would put it, a "pretext." That's why Powell wants to know everything about the FBI informants and their contacts with Flynn, about what previous investigation the FBI and CIA had conducted, both in the US and abroad. She knows that the FBI's supposed "predication" to investigate Flynn was all pretextual, and she's confident she can show it if she can get the documents released.
This brings us up to January 23, 2017. Here's how Sidney Powell explains what happened, based on testimony of FBI officials:
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. (Ex.12). Knowing they had no basis for an investigation, they deliberately decided not to notify DOJ for fear DOJ officials would follow protocol and notify White House Counsel.
As we have seen, the FBI already had a Full CI Investigation open that was targeting Flynn. They had no False Statement investigation open, for the simple reason that they had not taken any statements from Flynn at that point. The FBI, I believe, was using their open CI investigation as a pretext to interview Flynn, hoping to catch him in statements that they could construe to be false. If this were not the case, the FBI would have been in the untenable position of conducting official investigative activity without an open case file--a huge no-no. Flynn, who would have had no understanding of the AG Guidelines, accepted the bogus reasons Strzok and Pientka offered for coming to talk to him, but to cover themselves the FBI needed an already open case file before they went to talk to Flynn. There could be other possibilities--various "control" files--but I believe that the greater likelihood is that they used the already open file on Flynn. They were piling lack of predication upon lack of predication.
Now, just because the FBI has an open investigation, that doesn't mean that they can simply attempt to trick someone into making arguably false statements. Here's how it probably worked. If questioned, the FBI would assert that they interviewed Flynn because of their suspicions that he was a Russian agent, and that they were seeking to sound him out about matters in which he might let slip information that had to do with that suspicion. In reality, they were looking for statements that could be construed as false, and it all centered on Flynn's conversations with the Russian ambassador. In other words, they were looking for statements that would allow them to open a whole new investigation--a False Statements investigation. And that's why there were "many meetings" at FBIHQ in preparation for the interview, and why there was so much stress on not "alerting [Flynn] ... that he was being interviewed in a criminal investigation of which he was the target." They didn't want Flynn put on guard and correcting any careless statements.
We know that this ploy didn't get off to a good start, as Andrew McCabe admitted in that remarkable comment during his Congressional testimony, when he stated that the fact that Strzok and Pientka thought Flynn was being truthful was "not a very good start to a False Statements investigation." This is why, I believe, there was such a delay in putting the 302 of the interview in final form, and why it had to be revised several times. And why the original 302 had to be concealed.
The FBI wasn't sure they had a case at all. In fact, Flynn was forced to resign because of the conflict with VP Pence, not because of the FBI interview. It was only months later that Team Mueller decided that it really was possible to make bricks from straw. And so Flynn was charged with "lying" about matters that were perfectly proper and were no business at all of the FBI. Here's how Larry Johnson explains it:
First, Michael Flynn did nothing wrong or inappropriate in speaking to Russia's Ambassador Kislyak. He was doing his job as an incoming National Security Advisor to President Trump.
Second, not "recalling" what Ambassador Kislyak said (or did not say) on 22 December is not lying.
Third, even if Flynn did ask the Russian Ambassador on the 29th of December to "refrain from escalating the situation" in response to the U.S. sanctions imposed by Barack Hussein Obama, there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, that is wise counsel intended to defuse a situation.
Now we can begin to see the fix that the FBI and Team Mueller find themselves in. Powell sees it too, and she sees that the lack of predication is the Achilles heel for the FBI and Team Mueller.
The prosecutors are desperate now to conceal the fact that they never had any semblance of predication to investigate Flynn--ever. It was always a frame-up, and if that lack of predication comes out, through the disclosures of classified documents that Powell is seeking, the conspiracy against Flynn will be in plain view. (It will also, of course, shed unwelcome light on the entire Russia Hoax and the plot against the president.)
Look at how the Team Mueller case against Flynn worked. They never wanted to go to trial where they'd be forced to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, because they knew that was a long shot. They knew the problems with the FBI's case, the problems with the lack of predication, the "pretext" interview, the delayed and revised 302s. So, first they tried to force Flynn into a FARA problem, requiring his lawyers to flie, but that was a smokescreen at best. FARA is almost never used to prosecute, as we've seen with Manafort and others. FARA is used as a criminal predicate where a criminal predicate is required for other charges, not as a standalone charge. We saw how the FARA case against Flynn's former partner was tossed by the judge after a jury verdict against the partner--an almost unheard of occurrence. Ultimately, Team Mueller was able to coerce a plea from Flynn only by threatening Flynn's son, as Powell has stressed in her filings:
The government fails to mention that, to obtain the plea, it threatened Mr. Flynn with indictment the next day, the indictment of his son who had a new baby, promised him "the Manafort treatment,” and promised to pile on charges sufficient to put him in prison the rest of his life. The short fuse was no doubt motivated by the government’s knowledge, which it did not disclose to Flynn, that the salacious Strzok-Page emails, disclosing their vitriolic hatred of President Trump and his team, the key agents’ affair, and their termination from Mueller’s Special Counsel operation were going to be exposed the very next day. No individual, no matter how innocent, can withstand such pressure, particularly when represented by conflicted defense counsel. The advice a client is given by his lawyer in such fraught circumstances can make all the difference between standing his ground or caving to the immense pressure. Mr. Flynn caved, not because he is guilty, but because of the government’s failure to put its cards on the table, as Brady, requires, and its failure to ensure that Mr. Flynn was represented by un-conflicted counsel when he was forced to make that decision.
These audacious and unethical tactics were required precisely because Team Mueller was in no position to go to trial. If they had been forced to go to trial they would unquestionably have had to provide the defense with all the documentation that Powell is now demanding, and their case would have collapsed. As it is, they're now fighting a desperate rear guard action. And a day of reckoning is approaching.