Trump offers support for Flynn after new documents show FBI debating case

President Trump on Thursday signaled support for his former national security adviser Michael Flynn after new documents were unsealed in his criminal case, calling him a “war hero” and decrying the FBI’s treatment of him in the course of the Russia investigation.

“What happened to General Michael Flynn, a war hero, should never be allowed to happen to a citizen of the United States again!” Trump tweeted Thursday morning.

Trump’s commentary follows new documents unsealed late Wednesday in Flynn’s case showing FBI agents debating how to approach Flynn for an interview in January 2017, when he was serving as White House national security adviser. In one handwritten note, an unnamed FBI agent asks whether it is their goal to “get him to lie.” 

“What’s our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?” reads the handwritten note.

“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,” the note reads. “Protect our institution by not playing games.”

The Logan Act is an obscure law dating back to 1799 that makes it a crime for private citizens to intervene in disputes between the United States and foreign powers. 

Flynn’s attorneys argue that the documents support accusations of prosecutorial misconduct against the onetime national security adviser, who pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying about his contacts with the Russian ambassador and agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s election interference. 

Some legal analysts have disputed the significance of the new documents. Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor in New York, said it was normal for prosecutors and FBI agents to discuss outcomes of an interview.

“As a federal prosecutor, FBI & I questioned more subjects than I can count. Every time, there were 3 potential outcomes. Subject: 1) Tells the truth; 2) Lies (& potentially gets charged); 3) Refuses to talk. There is nothing unusual about discussing how each could play out,” Honig tweeted Thursday.

Conservatives have long argued Flynn was entrapped by the FBI. Flynn moved to withdraw his guilty plea in January, accusing prosecutors of acting in “bad faith.” The move has delayed his sentencing.

In a series of tweets overnight and into the morning, Trump attacked the media for their coverage of Flynn’s case and highlighted several tweets from supporters of Flynn. He shared tweets from his son Donald Trump Jr., who called for Flynn’s charges to be “dropped immediately” and claimed the FBI agents who interviewed him “set him up” and should be jailed as a result.

Trump also suggested his longtime friend Roger Stone, who like Flynn was charged in the course of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, was treated unfairly and renewed accusations of bias on the part of the forewoman in Stone’s criminal case. 

“Does anybody really believe that Roger Stone, a man whose house was raided early in the morning by 29 gun toting FBI Agents (with Fake News @CNN closely in toe), was treated fairly,” Trump tweeted Thursday. “How about the jury forewoman with her unannounced hatred & bias. Same scammers as General Flynn!”

And the president castigated former FBI Director James Comey for his handling of the Russia investigation, calling him a “dirty cop.”

Trump’s tweets are sure to fuel suspicions that he could look to pardon Stone or Flynn, neither of which he has ruled out.

The president signaled in February that he was considering a pardon for Stone — who was sentenced to 40 months in prison for lying to Congress and other charges — but indicated he would wait to make a decision until after the federal judge overseeing his case rules on Stone’s motion for a retrial. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson denied Stone’s motion earlier this month.

Tags Donald Trump FBI Flynn prosecution James Comey National security Robert Mueller Roger Stone Russia Investigation Trump tweets
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