FBI agents manipulated Flynn file, as Clapper allegedly urged ‘kill shot’: court filing
An explosive new court filing from Michael Flynn’s legal team alleges that FBI agents manipulated official records of the former national security adviser’s 2017 interview that led to him being charged with lying to investigators. It's Flynn's lawyers latest attempt to get the case thrown out.
Sidney Powell, Flynn’s attorney, filed a 37-page motion on Thursday, outlining several big allegations, once again requesting the government produce all evidence as it relates to Flynn — urging the court to “dismiss the entire prosecution for outrageous government misconduct” and hold the prosecutors in contempt.
The entire case stemmed from that FBI interview where Flynn was asked about his conversations with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn ultimately pleaded guilty to making false statements regarding those conversations during his interview, as part of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
But as his legal team goes on offense in the long-running and still unresolved court proceedings, Powell alleged that FBI officials manipulated Flynn’s FBI 302 — a form used by agents to report or summarize interviews. It's not clear who may have done the alleged editing, though ex-FBI agent Peter Strzok was involved in the original interview.
“Those changes added an unequivocal statement that ‘Flynn stated he did not’ — in response to whether Mr. Flynn had asked Kislyak to vote in a certain manner or slow down the UN vote [on sanctions],” Powell wrote. “This is a deceptive manipulation because, as the notes of the agents show, Mr. Flynn was not even sure he had spoken to Russia/Kislyak on the issue. He had talked to dozens of countries.”
Powell also alleged that agents added: “or if Kislyak described any Russian response to a request by Flynn.”
“That question and answer does not appear in the notes, yet it was made into a criminal offense,” Powell wrote. “The draft also shows that the agents moved a sentence to make it seem to be an answer to a question it was not.”
Powell also raised concerns about text messages between Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page days following the publication of the salacious anti-Trump dossier, which was funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee through law firm Perkins Coie.
As the coverage of the dossier spread in the media, the filing said, "Strzok wrote to Page: ‘Sitting with Bill watching CNN. A TON more out…We’re discussing whether, now that this is out, we can use it as a pretext to go interview some people.’”
“In the next two weeks, there were ‘many meetings’ between Strzok and [former Deputy FBI Director Andrew] McCabe to discuss ‘whether to interview National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and if so, what interview strategies to use,’” the document continued.
Powell alleged that on Jan. 23, 2017 – the day before the FBI interviewed Flynn at the White House – “the upper echelon of the FBI met to orchestrate” strategies that would have Flynn talk “in such a way as to keep from alerting him from understanding that he was being interviewed in a criminal investigation of which he was the target.”
“In short, they planned to deceive him about the entire scenario, and keep him ‘unguarded,’” Powell claimed.
Powell went on to allege that, at former FBI Director James Comey’s direction, McCabe “personally called Flynn to pave the way for the uncounseled conversation.”
While saying "Comey and McCabe were executing their own agenda—not investigating a crime," she continued to claim the government is hiding evidence "of the original 302, other exculpatory texts, and other forms of information completely.”
Whether the combative filings will persuade the court in a case where Flynn has already pleaded guilty remains to be seen.
Prosecutors have strongly rejected claims they're hiding evidence , saying "the government has exceeded its discovery and disclosure obligations in this matter," including by providing Flynn with thousands of pages of documents.
Federal prosecutors earlier this month called the defense's filings a “fishing expedition.”
“Since the beginning of their involvement, the defendant’s new counsel, have sought to get the charges dropped, professed their client’s actual innocence, and perpetuated conspiracy theories, all while stating that the defendant does not intend to withdraw his guilty plea,” they wrote.
But Powell is also hammering the FBI and DOJ over media leaks, citing a text message from Strzok to Page in April 2017: “I had literally just gone to find this phone to tell you I want to talk to you about media leak strategy with DOJ before you go.”
Powell also referenced a purported conversation between former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Washington Post reporter David Ignatius, claiming Clapper told the reporter “words to the effect of 'take the kill shot on Flynn,'” after he reportedly obtained the transcript of Flynn’s phone calls.
A spokesman for Clapper, though, told Fox News that he "absolutely did not say those words to David Ignatius."
"It's absolutely false," the spokesman said. "It's absurd."
Ignatius did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Powell also claims that the official who leaked the transcripts of the calls to Ignatius was a Pentagon official who was Stefan Halper’s “handler.”
Halper, an American professor, has been widely reported as a confidential source for the FBI during the bureau’s original investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Halper, in 2016, contacted several members of the Trump campaign including former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and former aides Carter Page and Sam Clovis.
“The evidence the defense requests will eviscerate any factual basis for the plea and reveal the conduct so outrageous—if there is not enough already—to mandate dismissal of this prosecution for egregious government misconduct,” Powell wrote.
Also in the filing, Powell referenced U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras, who accepted Flynn’s guilty plea just days before he was “suddenly and inexplicably recused.”
Fox News reported last year that Contreras and Strzok had a personal relationship, according to text messages obtained.
“The government knew that well in advance of Mr. Flynn’s plea that Judge Contreras was a friend of Peter Strzok and his recusal was even discussed in an exchange of multiple texts,” Powell wrote, referencing text messages between Strzok and Page where they discussed Strzok and Contreras speaking “in detail” on anything “meaningful enough to warrant recusal.”
Representatives for Strzok and Page did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Powell’s filing is just the latest in a series of motions brought to the court on behalf of Flynn. Last week, Powell demanded federal prosecutors turn over two cellphones used by Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud, whose role in the Trump-Russia investigation has long been shrouded in mystery.
Powell’s defense of Flynn has caused an escalating battle with the government, with Flynn’s sentencing still up in the air for his guilty plea. The government said in late August that the case was ready for sentencing, after months of delay. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan has set a Dec. 18 sentencing date, though it’s unclear whether it could be pushed off again.