Former House Oversight Committee Chairman and Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz reacted with outrage Thursday after the release of FBI documents that showed bureau officials questioned whether their "goal" was to induce then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn "to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired" when Flynn was interviewed as part of the Russia investigation in January 2017.
"It seems to be a brazen ambush, taking out somebody who is literally newly minted," Chaffetz told "Outnumbered Overtime". "He had been days into the new administration.
"Remember...this is not some field office gone awry. This is Main, Top Justice and for them to sit back and have notes, documentation now that they were considering what the various goal was...," he trailed off. "It didn’t say, 'Is the goal justice?' -- which is the only imperative that they have."
The documents turned over by the Justice Department (DOJ) late Wednesday include handwritten notes in which FBI officials openly indicated that their "goal" was "to get [Flynn] to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired" during special counsel Mueller's probe into allegations of 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” when he spoke to then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition period and catch him in a lie.
"What in the world do these people think they are trying to do with a newly minted person and a new president, to go after him...?
Although a note indicates that the agents at least discussed the merits of a by-the-book approach, the bombshell materials strongly suggested the agents weren't truly concerned about Flynn's intercepted contacts with Kislyak during the presidential transition period except as a pretext.
"I am not aware of anywhere enshrined in the law that one of the goals is to get a national security advisor fired," Chaffetz said. "What in the world do these people think they are trying to do with a newly minted person and a new president? To go after him, as one of the goals potentially is to get him fired? That is so blatantly wrong, it’s just disgusting."
Flynn has previously claimed top FBI officials, including McCabe, pressed him not to have an attorney present while he was questioned by two agents. That questioning ultimately led to Flynn's 2017 guilty plea on a single charge of lying to federal authorities about conversations with Kislyak. Flynn later sought to withdraw his guilty plea and has been seeking exoneration, saying the FBI engaged in "egregious misconduct."
"I see nothing under the law that has to do with trying to get somebody fired along the way, trying to entrap this person," Chaffetz agreed.
"Now, these all have legal ramifications," he added, "but the other part of the evidence that I think is deeply concerning is, why is it that the FBI withheld this information from General Flynn in order to mount his own defense?"
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.
"Thank goodness he has Sidney Powell representing him," Chaffetz said. "But [FBI] Director [Chris] Wray has been no help. It took Attorney General [Bill] Barr to unearth these documents so General Flynn, who served our country for decades honorably, could mount his own defense."
Fox News' Gregg Re and Joshua Nelson contributed to this report.