EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Attorney for Connecticut John Durham has reviewed the bombshell files released earlier this week showing FBI officials discussed whether they wanted to interview Michael Flynn in order to “get him to lie,” sources familiar with his investigation told Fox News, as the document drop renews attention on his probe of the law enforcement community's Russia case.
Sources even said charges could be justified against officials, and that those reviewing the Justice Department and the FBI's actions are building a "serious case." Durham and Attorney General Bill Barr are said to be speaking regularly.
“Durham has seen all of this already,” one source told Fox News, adding that they “could be sufficient for some charges against agents.”
“It’s a crime to present under oath false or misleading information,” the source told Fox News. “Not to mention obstruction of justice.”
Another source also told Fox News that the files have been reviewed by Durham and Jeff Jensen, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri who was tapped by the Justice Department in February to review the Flynn case specifically.
“They’re building a very serious case,” the second source told Fox News in reference to Durham's team.
The FBI declined to comment on the Flynn files.
Documents unsealed late Wednesday by the Justice Department revealed that top FBI officials openly questioned if their “goal” in interviewing Flynn in January 2017 was “to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired.”
The handwritten notes were penned 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, and before Flynn’s interview.
The notes suggested that agents also considered getting Flynn “to admit to breaking the Logan Act” when he spoke to former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition period. The Logan Act is an obscure statute that has never been successfully used in a criminal prosecution and was intended to prevent individuals from falsely claiming to represent the United States government abroad.
Flynn did not admit to such a violation during his 2017 interview, and later pleaded guilty to making false statements. He has since tried to withdraw the plea.
The files prompted accusations from Flynn's defenders that agents essentially talked about setting a perjury trap.
The source added that it is “disturbing to Durham” that “there weren’t any whistleblowers” that came forward in the FBI and Justice Department at the onset of the Russia probe.
Sources also told Fox News that more exculpatory documents are forthcoming, as Attorney General Barr continues to look over the DOJ's investigation into the handling of the Flynn case.
“Barr talks to Durham every day,” a source told Fox News. “The president has been briefed that the case is being pursued, and it’s serious.”
The source added: “They’ve asked the president to say nothing about it and not screw it up. He is laying back for a change.”
The new Flynn documents have also raised questions of whether President Trump could pardon Flynn, or whether the case could be tossed by the Justice Department or a judge.
A source told Fox News Friday that the president would prefer Flynn be “exonerated” by the justice system.
“They would prefer that he be exonerated because then it’s an exoneration by judicial process and not a pardon from a friend, or a coconspirator as some would allege,” the source said. “It would have more value from a public policy standpoint if the courts do it.”
The source added: “Obviously if that happens then the exoneration has credibility.”
Multiple sources have also told Fox News that Durham is expected to wrap up his investigation by the end of the summer.
One source suggested the investigation could end as soon as July, while another said it could be closer to September, based on Durham's progress, which could be hindered by the coronavirus pandemic rocking the nation and the globe.
“If they don’t have it, they’re not going to bring it,” another source told Fox News. “But they think they’ve got it.”
Durham was appointed last year by Barr to review the events leading up to the 2016 presidential election and through Trump’s Jan. 20, 2017 inauguration.
But, as Fox News first reported, Durham has since expanded his investigation to cover a post-election timeline spanning the spring of 2017 — when Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel.