The criminal case against Gen. Michael Flynn for lying to FBI agents was incredibly weak. At the time, I assumed that the charges against him were based on an audio tape or court reporter’s transcript of his interview. I wrote that the transcript should be made public so that we can all judge whether anything he said was actually untrue. While Flynn ultimately pled guilty to a single count of lying to a federal investigator, he has also said publicly that he pled to that single charge because the criminal investigation was rapidly bankrupting him.
In fact, there is no verbatim record of what Flynn said to the agents who interviewed him. Consistent with normal FBI practice, as I understand it, there is no recording or transcript. Rather, the agents who conducted the interrogation summarized what Flynn said in a form FD-302. Is this summary of what Flynn (or any other witness) said accurate? Who knows? Are nuances lost? Undoubtedly. Is much of what the witness said, that may have mitigated the claim that something he said was false, omitted? Of course.
In my opinion, the likelihood of getting a criminal conviction of General Flynn on the basis of a Form 302 was vanishingly small. If the government can’t prove what Flynn said–exactly–there is no way they can convict him of what amounts to perjury. So I find Flynn’s statement that he didn’t do anything wrong, but pled guilty to a single count to preserve what little net worth he has left, to be credible.
We also know that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn, one of whom was Peter Strzok, reported that they thought he was telling the truth, which is probably strike four in any possible prosecution. Against that background, an interesting new development emerged today: Congressman Mark Meadows suggested in an interview with The Hill that the Form 302 on Flynn’s interrogation may have been altered to facilitate prosecution:
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) suggested Thursday in an interview wth Hill.TV’s “Rising” that evidence may have been tampered with in the case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“Justice should be meted out evenly, and yet we’re finding that evidence could have been tampered with,” Meadows said.
Meadows suggested one focus is whether FBI interview reports — known as 302 reports — about Flynn were altered to improve the chances he’d be prosecuted.
“I brought this up with the inspector general the other day. Some of those key witnesses will be asked to appear before House Oversight,” he added.
The question about the FBI interview reports, he said, was “were they changed to change the outcome of prosecution decisions. I think they might have.”
“We’re not going to yield until we get an answer,” he added.
Not too many years ago, a claim that the FBI fabricated evidence to facilitate a prosecution would have seemed incredible. Today, given what we know of the corruption of the Bureau under the Obama administration, such a claim appears entirely plausible. This is just one more thread in the slowly unraveling story of the misuse of intelligence and law enforcement agencies by the Democrats to try to frustrate the candidacy of Donald Trump, and to destroy his administration after his election. Whether it will come to anything remains to be seen, but in my opinion, there is little doubt that General Flynn was railroaded into a confession that was likely false by the brute force of federal power.