In honor of Law Day I will be Tweeting later today about the legal and procedural issues that violated General Flynn's constitutional rights.
No1: The interview of General Flynn was corrupt because it was contrived. The FBI needs, at the least, an allegation of a crime to interview you. They cannot knock on your door and ask what you had for breakfast. The FBI asked General Flynn what he said in his calls with Ambassador Kislyak. The incoming National Security Adviser can talk to any foreign leader re any issue on behalf of the President-Elect. There is no crime in that for the FBI to investigate.
[Remember what I said above. No investigative step can be taken by the FBI unless they have a good faith belief that they are investigating a crime that falls within their jurisdiction. An interview is an investigative step.]
No2: The FBI purposefully did not tell General Flynn in Jan 2017 that he could be prosecuted if he didn't recall the ENTIRE conversation with Kislyak. They acted like it was a friendly discussion ... just like their previous visits in the days before. The FBI at first said there was “no deception.” Then Mueller was appointed in May.
No3: For a statement to the FBI to be a crime [a 'false statement' for purposes of 18 USC 1001], the statement must be “material,” i.e., your statement must have “impeded an FBI investigation.” If there is no crime to investigate, then nothing "material" has been impeded. You can tell the FBI you had yogurt for breakfast even if you had a jelly donut--if there is no investigation of yogurt or donuts there is no crime.
No4: The lousy Covington lawyers never asked for transcripts of General Flynn's calls with Kislyak. How can a lawyer tell his client to plead guilty to false statements when he hasn't compared the FBI interview notes with the actual words that were recorded? Now the US Government won’t even admit to Sidney Powell that such a tape even exists!
No5: What is the reason for this illegal conduct by the FBI? The FBI needed to eliminate General Flynn, lest he discover and put a stop to Crossfire Hurricane, the hoax investigation of Trump/Russia collusion. General Flynn knew where all the bodies might be buried in the Deep State.
IOW, Toensing is saying that, if there was no predication for an investigation of the conversation between Flynn and Kislyak, it makes no difference what Flynn told Strzok and Pientka during the interview--no legitimate investigation was impeded and no interview should have been conducted in the first place. The interview was conducted under a pretext of an investigation when no investigation was legitimately allowed.
But the fact is, the Logan Act narrative was a hoax predication. The Logan Act was a law that was enacted in 1798 but had never actually been used to prosecute anybody--not even George Logan, for whom the Act was named. There have been two indictments under the Logan Act--one in 1803 and one in 1852. Neither proceeded to prosecution.
Normally, when an FBI investigation reaches a certain point, the FBI seeks a legal opinion from a representative of the Department of Justice--typically, a local Assistant US Attorney (AUSA), a "line" prosecutor. That point might be when the investigating agents decide that they need the assistance of a grand jury--to obtain subpoenas for documents or to question witnesses who refuse to submit to an interview. Another reason to seek a legal opinion would be to determine whether the facts as known actually constitute a violation of federal law. The FBI has its own lawyers, of course, but their views have no bearing on the matter--it's the DoJ attorneys (usually working under the local US Attorney - USA) whose opinion matters, because they decide whether or not to prosecute.
Note that, while the Flynn case was opened at the direction of FBIHQ, the case was actually handled by the FBI's Washington Field Office (WFO), so if WFO--where Pientka was the supervisor handling the case--had sought a legal opinion they would have gone to the USA of the District of Columbia. That, by the way, explains why Pientka wrote up the interview of Flynn, even though Strzok had taken the lead. The reason is administrative: The Flynn case was opened in WFO. Therefore the case was assigned to Pientka, and so Pientka was technically in charge and would be responsible for writing up the interview. That's the reason for all the shucking and jiving at FBIHQ about revising the Flynn 302 while "saving Joe's voice".
In the actual circumstances of the Flynn case, the FBI--if it was seriously considering that Flynn had somehow violated the Logan Act--was dealing with a law that, in over 200 years, had never been prosecuted. Moreover, it was a law that was widely considered by legal scholars to be unconstitutional. Matthew Walther perfectly captures the farcical tone of the FBI and DoJ supposedly considering a prosecution of Flynn under the Logan Act when he observes that considering indicting Flynn under the terms of the Logan Act, "is the prosecutorial equivalent of announcing a snipe hunt." Finally, the FBI had all the facts it needed at its fingertips: Remember, the FBI had a full recording of the conversation between the NSA-designate and the Russian Ambassador to the US. There was no actual need to give Flynn a memory test. All the FBI needed to know was, was there actually any criminal violation in play. If Yes, consider an interview. But if No, shut it down.
In the circumstances of the Flynn case the whole thing is further complicated by the fact that any proposed prosecution of Flynn under the Logan Act would certainly be controlled by the Presidential Transition Act. It's widely accepted that, as Victoria Toensing says, "The incoming National Security Adviser can talk to any foreign leader re any issue on behalf of the President-Elect." If that were not the case then the foreign policy of the United States--the most important country in the world--could conceivably be paralyzed for the entire transition between the election and the inauguration--a matter of two and a half months. That prospect is so crazy that, well, Congress passed a law to deal with that: The Presidential Transition Act.
For the FBI to take off on a wild goose chase of that sort without seeking a legal opinion is ... words fail me. Irresponsible? Yes. A gross usurpation of proper responsibility? Yes. Crazy? Yes. Feel free to add your own descriptors. To me it was a crime against the constitutional order of the United States, because it was part of a conspiracy to nullify an election under false pretenses. No predication for an investigation means: false pretenses.
OK. So, as a very practical matter, the whole question boils down to this: Is there a memo or EC somewhere in the Flynn case file that memorializes the legal opinion of DoJ--whether the opinion of a DC AUSA, or the opinion of DAG Sally Yates, or an opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel, stating that the FBI should proceed because it looks like a criminal statute was violated? I don't think there is. Peter Strzok didn't even tell WFO why he was telling them to keep the Flynn case open--he just told them, Hey, don't close it. The fact that he didn't explain the Logan Act to WFO pretty much gives the game away. The open case at WFO was nothing but an administrative place marker--it had nothing real to do with the interview.
Regardless, it should be an easy matter to discover whether such a memo or EC exists. Did Sally Yates or some other responsible official at DoJ tell the FBI that, yes, we think General Flynn violated the Logan Act and if you present the facts to us we will prosecute General Flynn? If such an opinion was given, then it should be memorialized in the FBI's files. If no such document exists, then any investigative actions taken by the FBI under color of the Logan Act were very arguably conducted outside the FBI's actual authority. The interview would have been part of a criminal conspiracy to deprive Michael Flynn of his constitutional rights.