Former FBI Director James Comey testified to the House Intelligence Committee that FBI agents did not believe that Michael Flynn, who was national security adviser, intentionally lied about talks with Russia’s ambassador, according to a newly unredacted report from the committee.
“Director Comey testified to the Committee that ‘the agents…discerned no physical indications of deception," said a new version of the report obtained by Fox News on Friday. "They didn’t see any change in posture, in tone, in inflection, in eye contact. They saw nothing that indicated to them that he knew he was lying to them.’”
But Flynn later pleaded guilty plea in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe of alleged Russian election meddling to making false statements to the FBI. He also lost his White House job over the Russia contacts controversy.
Fox News on Friday asked the special counsel’s office for comment, and about whether it had uncovered new evidence against Flynn. There had been no response by the time of publication. Fox News will update the reporting if a response becomes available.
Comey, who has been on tour promoting his new book, has suggested his testimony about Flynn had been misunderstood.
“No, I saw that in the media,” Comey said last week on Fox News’ “Special Report.” “Someone misunderstood something I said. I didn’t believe that and didn’t say that.”
But the House report also states that then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said FBI didn’t “detect deception” from Flynn in the interview.
“Deputy Director McCabe confirmed the interviewing agent’s initial impression and stated that the 'conundrum that we faced on their return from the interview is that although [the agents] didn’t detect deception in the statements that he made in the interview … the statements were inconsistent with our understanding of the conversation that he had actually had with the ambassador,'” the report states.
McCabe then acknowledged that "the two people who interviewed [Flynn] didn't think he was lying, [which] was not [a] great beginning of a false statement case."
Last week, the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released their report on its investigation of Moscow's role in the 2016 election. Much of the detail was redacted, providing no information to back up its conclusion about Flynn’s interactions with the agents.
A congressional source told Fox News the committee is still fighting over dozens of redactions in the report and, with the Flynn section now public, the source questioned why it was redacted in the first place.
The new version also reveals that Flynn “met alone with two FBI agents at the White House” following a call from McCabe to Flynn, at Comey’s direction.
The report states the committee “received conflicting testimony” from then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, Comey, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord and McCabe about the purpose of the Flynn interview.
It listed several possible reasons for the interview, including whether the FBI was investigating Flynn’s "potentially misleading" statements to Vice President Pence, a possible violation of the Logan Act or to obtain more information about the Russia counterintelligence investigtion.
Earlier this week, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes blasted the FBI and the Department of Justice for “excessive and sloppy redactions,” amid efforts to unseal the redacted section having to do with Flynn.
“The excessive and sloppy redactions applied to the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia report deny the American people the opportunity to know and understand the report’s full findings and conclusions,” Nunes told Fox News.
Fox News’ Judson Berger contributed to this report.