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President Donald Trump has bashed former FBI Director James Comey, after unsealed documents revealed an agency plot to entrap Gen. Michael Flynn in a bid to take down the Trump presidency.
“DIRTY COP JAMES COMEY GOT CAUGHT!” Trump tweeted on Thursday morning, in one of a series of tweets lambasting the FBI’s prosecution of retired army general Michael Flynn, which he called a “scam.”
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DIRTY COP JAMES COMEY GOT CAUGHT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 30, 2020
Flynn served as Trump’s national security adviser in the first days of the Trump presidency, before he was fired for allegedly lying about his contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
An FBI investigation followed, and several months later, Flynn pleaded guilty to Special Counsel Robert Mueller about lying during interviews with agents. He has since tried to withdraw the plea, citing poor legal defense and accusing the FBI and Obama administration of setting him up from the outset.
Documents unsealed by a federal judge on Wednesday seem to support that argument. In one handwritten note, dated the same day as Flynn’s FBI interview in January 2017, the unidentified note-taker jots down some potential strategies to use against the former general.
“We have a case on Flynn + Russians,” the note reads. “What’s our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?”
#FLYNN docs just unsealed, including handwritten notes 1/24/2017 day of Flynn FBI interview. Transcript: “What is our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?” Read transcript notes, copy original just filed. @CBSNews pic.twitter.com/8oqUok8i7m
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) April 29, 2020
The unsealed documents also include an email exchange between former agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, in which the pair pondered whether to remind Flynn that lying to federal agents is a crime. Page and Strzok were later fired from the agency, after a slew of text messages emerged showing the pair’s mutual disdain for Trump, and discussing the formulation of an “insurance policy” against his election.
Flynn’s discussions with Kislyak were deemed truthful by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Additionally, a Washington Post article published the day before Flynn’s January 2017 interview revealed that the FBI had tapped his calls with the Russian ambassador and found “nothing illicit.”
Still, Section 1001 of the US Criminal Code, which makes it illegal to lie to a federal agent, is broad in its scope. Defense Attorney Solomon Wisenberg wrote that “even a decent person who tries to stay out of trouble can face criminal exposure under Section 1001 through a fleeting conversation with government agents.”