A senior FBI official's handwritten notes from the earliest days of the Trump administration detail a tortured debate among officials to use a bureau interview of then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to get him to lie so "we could prosecute him or get him fired."
The notes and other emails were provided to Flynn's lawyers under seal last week and released Wednesday night by court order, providing the most damning evidence to date of potential politicalization and misconduct inside the FBI during the Russia probe.
The notes show FBI officials discussed not providing Flynn a Miranda-like warning before his January 2017 interview — a practice normally followed in such interviews — so that he could be charged with a crime if he misled the agents, the officials said.
That's Peter Strzok and Lisa Page who had that discussion. Andrew McCabe would have had operational control of the Flynn interview, and Lisa Page was his legal counsel. It all fits in.
"What is our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?," the handwritten notes of the senior official say.
Multiple officials confirmed to Just the News that the author of the notes is William Priestap, the now-retired FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence and the ultimate supervisor for fired agent Peter Strzok, who led the Russia probe.
I left Priestap off my original list of targets, but his role here is perfectly logical.
Justice Department officials are investigating whether Priestap's notes were written in conjunction with meetings he had with top leaders like then-Director James Comey and then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, officials said. A special prosecutor is reviewing DOJ's and the FBI's handling of the Flynn prosecution, which led to the former Trump adviser and retired general pleading guilty to lying to the FBI under a plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the Russia case.
Yeah, I'll bet they are!
Question: When did it become official FBI business to get someone fired? When did that became a legitimate goal of an interview regarding matters outside the FBI's responsibility? It seems to me that anyone involved in this is in a very hard place. Even if they somehow elude prosecution, Flynn will own them.
UPDATE 1: I've had a chance to look at some of the unsealed documents: US v Flynn - new unsealed docs.
What I see here is three things:
1) Peter Strzok emails James Baker Baker for legal advice on how "DD" (Deputy Director Andrew McCabe) should respond to various scenarios when McCabe makes the phone call to Flynn to send Strzok over for the interview. The scenarios that Strzok puts forward all appear to be aimed at hiding from Flynn the true nature of the interview. This is part of what Bill Priestap (below) will refer to as "game playing"--an "ambush" or "gotcha" plan of attack to frame Flynn.
2) Strzok and Lisa Page email re when "1001" (False Statement) warning should/must be given in an interview.
3) And this is most important. Bill Priestap's handwritten notes regarding what the interview is all about in the first place. Priestap's notes come in two parts. The first part, on the left side, are brief. However, the notes on the right side are longer, and appear under the heading "Afterwards." My guess is that these are notes that Priestap made either in advance of presenting an argument orally or perhaps as a draft for an email. Priestap says in this portion of the notes that he thought about the proposed Flynn interview "last night"--presumably after a discussion/meeting. Clearly Priestap began having second thoughts on the advisability of the proposed meeting--he thinks the FBI should "rethink" the whole idea.
Priestap's counter proposal is that the interview should be conducted on the up and up, by being open with Flynn about the FBI's concerns and by showing him the transcript of his conversation with Kislyak. Priestap regards the plan as proposed by others as smacking of "game playing," of a "gotcha" approach. And so he asks: What are we trying to accomplish? Are we trying to learn the truth, or are we trying to catch Flynn in a lie so we can prosecute him or get him fired? Priestap appears, after thinking about it overnight, to favor trying to learn the truth! He was, of course, overruled. He ends by stressing the risks of the proposed "game playing" approach--"the White House will be furious." He wants to "protect our institution"--the FBI--whereas the coup plotters are perfectly willing to risk all.
Overall, Priestap strikes me as a sap. How could he ever believe that the talk of a Logan Act violation was actually serious? It must have been a sore trial for the coup plotters to have to deal with a dummy like Priestap who didn't understand "What's urgent?"
That's my summary, but here's my transcript of Priestap's notes:
* We have a case on Flynn and Russians
* Our goal is to resolve case
* Our goal is to determine if Mike Flynn is going to tell the truth & his relationship with Russians
* Can quote [REDACTED]
* Shouldn't [REDACTED]
Review [illegible?] alone
* I thought [about?] it last night, + I believe we should rethink this
* What's urgent? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?
* We regularly show subjects evidence with he goal of getting them to admit their wrongdoing
* I don't see how getting someone to admit their wrongdoing is going easy on him
* If we get him to admit to breaking the Logan Act, give facts to DoJ + have them decide
* Or, if he initially lies, then we present him [REDACTED] + he admits it, document for DoJ, + let them decide how to address it
* If we're seen as playing games, WH will be furious
* Protect our institution by not playing games
I presume Priestap cooperated with OIG and is now cooperating with John Durham.
UPDATE 2: Sidney Powell stated to Hannity tonight that while the emails have, of course, always been in FBI custody, the written notes may not have been. She also stated with regard to the notes--which are being widely attributed (as above) to Bill Priestap--she is still not certain of the identity of the person who wrote those notes.