President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE said Thursday that he would consider bringing former national security adviser Michael Flynn back into the administration in a different role.
“I think he’s a fine man. I think it’s terrible what [the FBI] did to him,” Trump responded when asked by a reporter if he would consider bringing Flynn back. “I would certainly consider it.”
Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI in the course of the Russia investigation but documents released late Wednesday in his criminal case have fueled conservative claims that he was entrapped by the bureau.
Trump has expressed support for Flynn while seizing on the new revelations, claiming the FBI tried to “destroy” Flynn. He did not rule out pardoning his former adviser.
“They did everything possible to destroy him but he’s still breathing very strongly,” Trump told reporters Thursday following an event on protecting seniors from the novel coronavirus.
Trump said he expected Flynn to be exonerated and would therefore be “capable” of returning to the administration, but said he hadn’t thought about in what capacity.
The documents released Wednesday show FBI agents discussing how to handle a January 2017 interview with Flynn, who was still working as Trump's national security adviser at the time.
"What's our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?" an unnamed FBI agent wrote in a handwritten note included among the documents. "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.”
Flynn’s attorneys say that the documents support their claims that their client was subject to prosecutorial misconduct. Legal experts, however, have doubted the significance of the documents, saying that such discussion about approaching a subject, target or witness of an investigation would be routine.
Flynn, who was ousted from the White House after misleading Vice President Pence and others about his contacts with the Russian ambassador, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian diplomat in December 2017.
Early this year he sought to withdraw that plea and it has delayed his sentencing. The federal judge overseeing Flynn’s case will ultimately make a decision as to whether the documents advance his claim that he was the victim of government misconduct.