President Trump blasted what he called the “scam” against Michael Flynn as newly released FBI files revealed agents discussing their motivations for interviewing the former national security adviser -- in turn, raising serious questions about the future of the case against him.
As speculation about a possible pardon or other scenarios ramped up, Trump also tweeted in all-caps: "DIRTY COP JAMES COMEY GOT CAUGHT!"
Comey, who has been at sharp odds with Trump ever since his 2017 firing, oversaw the bureau at the time of Flynn's fateful FBI interview.
“What happened to General Michael Flynn, a war hero, should never be allowed to happen to a citizen of the United States again!” the president tweeted Thursday morning, likening the prosecution to that against associate Roger Stone.
“Does anybody really believe that Roger Stone, a man whose house was raided early in the morning by 29 gun toting FBI agents (with Fake News @CNN closely in toe), was treated fairly . How about the jury forewoman with her unannounced hatred & bias. Same scammers as General Flynn!” he wrote.
The president also blasted CNN for their coverage, adding: “They won’t even cover the big breaking news about this scam!”
The president’s comments come as internal FBI documents were unsealed Wednesday, revealing that top bureau officials openly questioned if their “goal” was “to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired,” when interviewing Flynn in the White House in January 2017.
The handwritten notes—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, Fox News is told—further suggested that agents planned in the alternative to get Flynn “to admit to breaking the Logan Act” when he spoke to then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition period.
The Logan Act is an obscure statute that has never been used in a criminal prosecution; enacted in 1799 in an era before telephones, it was intended to prevent individuals from falsely claiming to represent the United States government abroad.
"What is our goal?" one of the notes read. "Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?”
"If we get him to admit to breaking the Logan Act, give facts to DOJ + have them decide," another note read. Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley called the document's implications “chilling."
The memo appears to weigh the pros and cons of pursuing those different paths. "I don't see how getting someone to admit their wrongdoing is going easy on him," one note reads. Flynn did not ultimately admit to wrongdoing in the interview -- and later was pursued by the FBI for making alleged false statements. He pleaded guilty, but has since tried to reverse course.
The document indicates that the agents at least discussed the merits of a by-the-book approach: "If we’re seen as playing games, WH [White House] will be furious.”
The bombshell materials suggested the agents weren't truly concerned about Flynn's intercepted contacts with Kislyak during the presidential transition period, except as a pretext.
The Justice Department turned over the documents just this week, even though a February 2018 standing order in the case from United States District Court for the District of Columbia required the government to turn over any exculpatory materials in its possession that pertained to Flynn. Such materials ordinarily do not need to be disclosed to uncharged individuals or those who have already pleaded guilty, Sullivan has ruled.
Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, told Fox News on Thursday that in light of the new documents, “this persecution will have to be thrown out entirely.”
Fox News is told even more exculpatory documents are forthcoming, as Attorney General Bill Barr continues to look over the DOJ's investigation into the handling of the Flynn case.
Fox News' Gregg Re contributed to this report.