Newly released handwritten notes by fired FBI investigator Peter Strzok show President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden had a direct role in the prosecution of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, whose charges were ordered dropped by an appeals court Wednesday.
Strzok – memorializing a Jan. 4, 2017, meeting in the Oval Office regarding Flynn’s phone call with Russian Ambassador Kislyak – said that Biden wanted to invoke the Logan Act against Flynn and that Obama ordered the investigation.
Obama, according to the notes, sought to have “the right people on the case.”
The Logan Act is a rarely used 1799 law that bars unauthorized American citizens from negotiating official national business with foreign countries that are in conflict with the U.S.
Of further significance is the fact that then-FBI Director James Comey, according to Strzok’s notes, said during the meeting that the calls between Flynn and Kislyak “appear legit.”
The case against Flynn proceeded, nevertheless.
The notes, submitted in the Flynn case, indicate the potential Logan Act violation became a pretext to investigate the former Trump official.
Previously unsealed court documents revealed the FBI was preparing to shut down the Flynn probe until Strzok personally intervened. Strzok, along with another FBI agent, then conducted the interview in Flynn’s office in the White House that led to charges of perjury and Flynn’s firing after only a month as national security adviser. Flynn withdrew his guilty plea after evidence surfaced that he had been the victim of a “perjury trap.” Notes show FBI agents plotting to get Flynn to lie so he could be prosecuted.
Obama and Biden were joined in the Oval Office meeting by Comey, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, National Security Adviser Susan Rice and CIA Director John Brennan. Rice famously memorialized the meeting in an email to herself on the last day of the Obama administration. She wrote that the meeting took place Jan. 5, 2017. But Stzrok’s notes show it likely took place Jan. 4.
The Federalist reported that until this week, the exculpatory information was withheld from Flynn and his defense team, congressional committees and the American public.
The selective leaking of information damaging to Flynn and the Trump administration spurred the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, who was unable to find sufficient evidence of the overarching claim of Trump campaign collusion with Russia.