Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team on Friday released key documents relating to the FBI’s questioning of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, confirming agents did not believe at the time Flynn intentionally lied to them — though he was later charged with making false statements in that interview.
The documents also reveal that the decision to interview Flynn in early 2017 about contacts with the Russian ambassador was controversial within the Justice Department. One FBI document said then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates “was not happy” when then-FBI Director James Comey informed her that the FBI planned to talk to Flynn. The report also said several unnamed people back at FBI headquarters “later argued about the FBI’s decision to interview Flynn.”
The documents – some of which are heavily redacted – were released in response to U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordering prosecutors to hand over the government’s files related to the FBI’s questioning of Flynn by Friday afternoon. The order came after Flynn’s legal team said in a filing that the FBI discouraged Flynn from bringing a lawyer to the interview and agents never advised him false statements in that setting could constitute a crime. The newly released documents confirm those claims.
The documents include then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s notes after talking with Flynn to arrange his interview with the FBI. It also includes a so-called “302” report documenting what Flynn told anti-Trump agent Peter Strzok and one other agent during their conversation at the White House. That July 2017 report, though, specifically came from an interview with Strzok in which the Flynn encounter was discussed — and not the original Flynn interview.
The 302 report stated that Strzok and the other agent “both had the impression at the time that Flynn was not lying or did not think he was lying.”