Byron York has a new piece in the Washington Examiner, going over some of the details in Michael Flynn’s sentencing memo. The short version? McCabe encouraged Flynn NOT to have a lawyer present, and agents “decided specifically not to warn him that there would be penalties for making false statements because the agents wanted to ensure that Flynn was ‘relaxed’ during the session.”
Hm. That doesn’t sound like a set-up at all. Nope. Nothing to see here!
The new information, drawn from McCabe’s account of events plus the FBI agents’ writeup of the interview — the so-called 302 report — is contained in a sentencing memo filed Tuesday by Flynn’s defense team.
Citing McCabe’s account, the sentencing memo says that shortly after noon on Jan. 24 — the fourth day of the new Trump administration — McCabe called Flynn on a secure phone in Flynn’s West Wing office. The two men discussed business briefly and then McCabe said that he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” with Flynn to discuss Flynn’s talks with Russian officials during the presidential transition.
McCabe, by his own account, urged Flynn to talk to the agents alone, without a lawyer present. “I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [Flynn] and the agents only,” McCabe wrote. “I further stated that if LTG Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House counsel for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. [Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants.”
Agents showed up to Flynn’s office two hours later.
“The agents did not provide Gen. Flynn with a warning of the penalties for making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. 1001 before, during, or after the interview,” the memo states.
According to the 302, before the interview, McCabe and other FBI officials “decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed, and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport.”
On one hand, they should’ve given him the lowdown, but on the other hand, you should know not to lie.
The message of the sentencing memo is clear: Flynn, his lawyers suggest, was surprised, rushed, not warned of the context or seriousness of the questioning, and discouraged from having a lawyer present.
Reactions are mixed. Some say the FBI was playing a dirty game. Others say Flynn should’ve known better anyway.
I’m sorry, Michael Flynn wasn’t a lowly intern. He didn’t know, after decades of serving in the Executive Branch, that lying to the FBI is a felony? He didn’t know to have a lawyer present?
That’s criminal stupidity, not a perjury trap. https://t.co/vrqsNHVDgI
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) December 12, 2018
If you’re arguing that the National SECURITY Advisor needed a lawyer to keep from lying to members of the FBI, you’re losing.
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) December 12, 2018
If Mike Flynn didn’t know that lying to the FBI was a crime he failed much farther forward than anyone imagined.
— James DeSarno (@j_desarno) December 12, 2018
“Nobody told me lying is wrong”? That’s what you’re going with?
— Lee County (AL) Dems (@LCDCAlabama) December 12, 2018
Pretty clear subtext in this Flynn sentencing memo that his lawyers think McCabe and the FBI set him up.
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) December 12, 2018
Strzok interviewed HRod with her *nine* lawyers in the room.
Strzok interviewed Flynn without the benefit of counsel and didn’t even tell him it was an interview. https://t.co/Xd2IWPNfUT
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) December 12, 2018
Gee it’s like … they set him up or something? Who could have seen this coming from Lisa Page and Peter Strzok?
— Remus Remington (@RzNBA23) December 12, 2018
McCabe is the one who told Flynn not to get the WH Counsel. Strzok executed the mission. White Collar Thugs!
— Yossi Gestetner (@YossiGestetner) December 12, 2018