Explosive internal FBI documents unsealed Wednesday show bureau officials executed a "meticulously planned-out scheme" in January 2017 to set up then-national security adviser Michael Flynn, former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy told Fox News Wednesday.
"What we are seeing is a meticulously planned-out scheme to try to get a 33-year combat veteran of the United States to say something that was inaccurate so that they would have a basis to try to charge him with false statements or otherwise get him fired," McCarthy told "The Story."
"I think what we are seeing is a meticulously planned out scheme to try to get a 33-year combat veteran of the United States to say something that was inaccurate."
The documents turned over by the Justice Department late Wednesday include handwritten notes in which FBI officials openly indicated that their "goal" was "to get him [Flynn] to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired" during special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged collusion by Americans with Russian officials at the time of the 2016 election.
The handwritten notes -- written by the FBI's former head of counterintelligence Bill Priestap after a meeting with then-FBI Director James Comey and then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe -- indicated that agents planned to get Flynn “to admit to breaking the Logan Act” and catch him in a lie.
The Logan Act is an obscure statute that has never been used in a criminal prosecution. Enacted in 1799, it was intended to prevent individuals from falsely claiming to represent the United States abroad.
"For years, a number of us have been arguing that this looked like a perjury trap," McCarthy said. "That was common sense for a long time."
Flynn has previously claimed top FBI officials, including then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, pressed him not to have an attorney present while he was questioned by two agents. That questioning ultimately led to Flynn's guilty plea on a single charge of lying to federal authorities about conversations with Russia's then-ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak.
One of the agents who questioned Flynn was Peter Strzok, who was later fired from the bureau after his anti-Trump text messages came to light.
"They did not have a legitimate investigative reason for doing this and there was no criminal predicate or reason to treat him [Flynn] like a criminal suspect," McCarthy explained.
"They did the interview outside of the established protocols of how the FBI is supposed to interview someone on the White House staff. They are supposed to go through the Justice Department and the White House counsel's office. They obviously purposely did not do that and they were clearly trying to make a case on this."
Mueller eventually concluded that there was no evidence of collusion with Russian foreign nationals and President Trump's campaign. However, in 2017 Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with Russia’s ambassador before President Trump took office
In January, Flynn attempted to withdraw the guilty plea, saying federal prosecutors had acted in “bad faith” and broke their end of the bargain when they sought prison time for him.
Then-FBI Director James Comey admitted the Flynn interview didn't follow protocol, and came at his direction. He said the decision to "send a couple of guys over" to the White House to interview Flynn was “something I probably wouldn't have done or maybe gotten away with in a more … organized administration.”
"People should understand," McCarthy explained, "if General Flynn was a gangbanger or Mafia guy, they would have sat down with them or they would have told him, 'This is a criminal investigation,' they would have identified themselves as FBI agents, told him the reason for the interview, told him he had a right not to answer questions and told him if he made false statements, that could be grounds for prosecution. And if he made true statements, that can be used against him in a prosecution.
"They would do all of those things for criminals," he added.
Flynn's lead attorney, Sidney Powell, has demanded for months that the Department of Justice provide the exculpatory information that prosecutors are required by law to reveal to defendants they have charged with crimes.
Last month, President Trump said he was considering a full pardon for Flynn.
Fox News' Gregg Re and Julia Musto contributed to this report.