"Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceFox News signs book deal with HarperCollins GOP leader's remarks on Fox underscore Trump's power The Memo: Anti-democratic fears rise as GOP stokes election doubts MORE said Friday he was surprised to see people "rallying" behind ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn, arguing the former Trump administration official should not have lied to the FBI.
Wallace, who was speaking on Fox News, said Flynn erred in speaking to the FBI voluntarily shortly after President TrumpDonald TrumpMcCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Biden's Supreme Court reform study panel notes 'considerable' risks to court expansion Bennie Thompson not ruling out subpoenaing Trump MORE was elected.
"Did the FBI play hardball? Yeah. Guess what? The FBI plays hardball. And guess what? If you are talking to the FBI — and a lot of lawyers would say don’t talk to them unless you have to — don’t lie," he said.
Wallace's comments came a day after Trump told reporters Thursday that Flynn has been “essentially exonerated” by new documents unsealed in the criminal case against the former aide.
“He's in the process of being exonerated. If you look at those notes from yesterday, that was total exoneration,” Trump said. “These were dirty, filthy cops at the top of the FBI.”
Wallace said he was also surprised that Trump suggested Flynn might return to the administration.
"I was kind of surprised that the president said yesterday, 'Well, maybe I’ll bring him back to the White House.' It was the president, before any legal case was brought, who fired Flynn because Flynn had lied about his conversation with the Russian ambassador to the vice president, Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceBennie Thompson not ruling out subpoenaing Trump Heritage Foundation names new president Fewer than 4 in 10 say US is on right track: poll MORE," Wallace said.
"Mike Pence came on 'Fox News Sunday' just before the inauguration in January of 2016 and said there was no discussion of that. And it turns out he was basing that on what Flynn had told him and that Flynn had lied to him," Wallace added. "So I’m not quite sure I understand why people are all rallying to Flynn’s case."
Trump's remarks on Thursday were in reaction to new documents that show FBI agents debated how to handle a January 2017 interview with Flynn. One bureau agent asked in a handwritten note whether their goal was to “to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired.”
Flynn’s attorneys argue that the documents support claims that Flynn was a victim of prosecutorial misconduct, though legal experts have disputed the significance of the new materials.
Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. regarding sanctions on Moscow as part of an agreement to cooperate with special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE’s investigation. He moved to withdraw his guilty plea two years later.