National Security

Former DOJ official: Department twisted my words in motion to drop Flynn case

A former top Justice Department official in an op-ed for The New York Times on Sunday accused the department of twisting her words in order to make the case that former national security adviser Michael Flynn should not be prosecuted for lying to the FBI.

In the column, former acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary McCord accused top officials of a “disingenuous” use of statements she made to the Justice Department following her retirement from the agency in order to explain why the department would no longer pursue charges against Flynn. In a motion to dismiss the case against Flynn on Thursday, Barr and acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Timothy Shea cited an interview with McCord more than two dozen times to suggest that the FBI’s interview with Flynn was unwarranted.

“The account of my interview in 2017 doesn’t help the department support this conclusion, and it is disingenuous for the department to twist my words to suggest that it does,” McCord wrote.

“What the account of my interview describes is a difference of opinion about what to do with the information that Mr. Flynn apparently had lied to the incoming vice president, Mr. Pence, and others in the incoming administration about whether he had discussed the Obama administration’s sanctions against Russia in his calls with” then-Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak, McCord continued.

McCord explained that she believed the FBI mishandled the Flynn investigation by not coordinating his interview with the Justice Department but said she did not believe the agencies had no reason to suspect Flynn of possible criminal activity.

“It has no bearing on whether Mr. Flynn’s lies to the F.B.I. were material to the clear counterintelligence threat posed by the susceptible position Mr. Flynn put himself in when he told Mr. Pence and others in the new administration that he had not discussed the sanctions with Mr. Kislyak. The materiality is obvious,” she concluded.

Attorney General William Barr has defended his decision to end the Justice Department’s prosecution of Flynn, who initially pleaded guilty to lying to investigators but in recent months has sought to change that plea.

“I’m doing the law’s bidding. I’m doing my duty under the law, as I see it,” Barr told CBS News on Thursday. 

“I made clear during my confirmation hearing that I was gonna look into what happened in 2016 and ’17. I made that crystal clear,” he continued. “I was very concerned about what happened. I was gonna get to the bottom of it. And that included the treatment of Gen. Flynn.”

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