The FBI announced Friday that Director Chris Wray has ordered an internal review of the handling of the bureau’s investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, which will include examining whether current FBI employees "engaged in misconduct."
“FBI Director Christopher Wray today ordered the Bureau’s Inspection Division to conduct an after-action review of the Michael Flynn investigation,” the bureau said in a statement.
The review will be handled by the bureau’s Inspection Division, the FBI said. That division is similar to an internal affairs office in a police department.
The bureau said the “after-action review” will have a two-fold purpose: evaluating the FBI’s role in the case and determining whether any “current employees engaged in misconduct,” as well as identifying whether any “improvements” might be warranted to FBI procedures.
“Although the FBI does not have the prosecutorial authority to bring a criminal case, the Inspection Division can and will evaluate whether any current onboard employees engaged in actions that might warrant disciplinary measures,” the FBI said.
The FBI's investigation -- along with Flynn's guilty plea on false statement charges and subsequent attempt to withdraw that plea -- has made for a lengthy and unpredictable case, as supporters of Flynn insist he was unfairly and wrongly targeted by the FBI at the beginning of the Trump administration.
This development comes just weeks after the Justice Department moved to drop its case against Flynn as internal memos were released raising questions about the nature of the investigation that led to Flynn’s late 2017 guilty plea of lying to the FBI -- and specifically about the early 2017 interview that led to that plea.
Many of the top bureau officials involved in the Flynn matter no longer work at the FBI, and the statement said: “As for former employees, the FBI does not have the ability to take any disciplinary action.”
The Justice Department is already doing its own review of the case, led by Jeff Jensen, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri. The FBI said their effort will “complement” Jensen’s work.
“The after-action review will complement the already substantial assistance the FBI has been providing to U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen in connection with his work on the Flynn case,” the FBI said. “Under Director Wray’s leadership, the FBI has been fully transparent and cooperative with Mr. Jensen, and the FBI’s help has included providing special agents to assist Mr. Jensen in the fact-finding process.”
Meanwhile, recently released documents showed how agents discussed their motivations for interviewing Flynn in the Russia probe—questioning whether they wanted to “get him to lie” so he'd be fired or prosecuted, or get him to admit wrongdoing. Flynn allies howled over the revelations, arguing that he was essentially set up in a perjury trap.
Democrats have cried foul over the DOJ's recent actions and claimed the dismissal shows the department has become politicized. The federal judge in the case, Judge Emmet Sullivan, has so far refused to rule on the department's motion to withdraw. Instead, he has chosen to draw the process out, asking retired federal judge John Gleeson to first submit a brief arguing against the motion to dismiss the case.
The internal review follows pressure from Republicans in Congress who have pushed Wray for information and interviews related to the handling of the case.
Fox News' David Spunt and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.