The Flynn Entrapment - WSJ

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The Flynn Entrapment
A court filing shows the ugly tactics employed by James Comey’s FBI.

By The WSJ Editorial Board
Dec. 12, 2018 6:55 p.m. ET

Of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s many targets, the most tragic may be former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The former three-star general pleaded guilty last year to a single count of lying to the FBI about conversations he had with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. Now we learn from Mr. Flynn’s court filing to the sentencing judge that senior bureau officials acted in a way to set him up for the fall.

Not a rich man after decades in uniform, Mr. Flynn pleaded guilty to avoid bankruptcy and spare his son from becoming a legal target. Mr. Flynn’s filing doesn’t take issue with the description of his offense. But the “additional facts” the Flynn defense team flags for the court raise doubts about FBI conduct.

The Flynn filing describes government documents concerning the Jan. 24, 2017 meeting with two FBI agents when Mr. Flynn supposedly lied. It turns out the meeting was set up by then Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who personally called Mr. Flynn that day on other business—to discuss an FBI training session. By Mr. McCabe’s account, on that call he told Mr. Flynn he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” with him to talk about his Russia communications.

Mr. McCabe then urged Mr. Flynn to meet without a lawyer present. “I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [Mr. Flynn] and the agents only. 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. [Mr. Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants,” wrote Mr. McCabe in a memo viewed by the Flynn defense team.

According to the FBI summary of the interview—known as a 302—Mr. McCabe and 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.”

We also know from then FBI Director James Comey that this was his idea. This is “something I probably wouldn’t have done or wouldn’t have gotten away with in a more organized administration,” Mr. Comey boasted on MSNBC this weekend. “In the George W. Bush Administration or the Obama Administration, if the FBI wanted to send agents into the White House itself to interview a senior official, you would work through the White House counsel, there would be discussions and approvals and who would be there. And I thought, it’s early enough let’s just send a couple guys over.”

If the goal was to set a legal trap, it worked. The two agents showed up at the White House within hours of Mr. McCabe’s call, and they reported in the 302 that General Flynn had been “relaxed and jocular” and “clearly saw the FBI agents as allies.” One of the agents was Peter Strzok, who is famous for his anti-Trump texts to his FBI paramour.

The FBI agents had seen transcripts of Mr. Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador that were “unmasked” by Obama Administration officials. The 302 says that rather than flag this and ask Mr. Flynn for an explanation, the FBI agents decided before the meeting that if “Flynn said he did not remember something they knew he said, they would use the exact words Flynn used, . . . to try to refresh his recollection. If Flynn still would not confirm what he said, . . . they would not confront him or talk him through it.”

Keep in mind the FBI’s counterintelligence probe into Russia and the Trump campaign was still secret. Mr. Flynn had done nothing wrong in conversing with the Russian ambassador—it was part of his job—and he had no reason to believe he was in legal jeopardy. He initially claimed he misremembered what was discussed, which is more believable than that a highly decorated officer would lie to FBI officers he agreed to see without counsel.

Mr. Flynn’s lawyers are requesting probation and community service, though the facts suggest the judge should question the entire plea deal. Messrs. McCabe and Strzok have both been fired for misconduct, and their behavior reeks of entrapment.

If he does nothing else, President Trump has an obligation to former aides like Michael Flynn and to the public to declassify and disclose the FBI documents related to the FBI’s Russia probe.

The link is for subscribers only and I do not subscribe so YMMV.

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  • Posted by  $  25n56il4 4 weeks, 1 day ago
    Entrapment! Failure to read him Miranda rights! Unlawful restraint (could he leave the room?) Comey should go away so we don't have to look at him. He thinks he is a Rock Star. I think he is a coward, liar, and did I say I don't like him?
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  • Posted by 1 month ago
    The FBI has been acting without any ethics for decades so this is no surprise to me.

    At least the FBI didn't burn Flynn to death as they have to others that were political enemies of the FBI .
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    • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 4 weeks ago
      I don't get the reference, but doubt nothing.
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      • Posted by 4 weeks ago
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        • Posted by  $  25n56il4 3 weeks, 1 day ago
          Listen, we will never forget Waco. I watched with my husband and a retired Air Force Colonel (his wife and I were roommates at a young age). The Colonel said to my husband, who spent 20 years in the Army, 'They aren't going to fire those tanks are they?' My husband said, "Why do you think they moved them there?"
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        • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 3 weeks, 6 days ago
          Oh, of course! Duh!
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          • Posted by ewv 3 weeks, 6 days ago
            Waco was a long time ago. More pertinent to this scandal is the ongoing corruption in unconstitutional surveillance and manipulation of evidence.

            The Snowden document dump was from inside NSA, bringing a lot of attention to that agency, but all the techniques and practices have been shared with the other agencies including FBI. One of their manipulations is to use stolen information through improper surveillance to 'build a case' by using their suspicions to construct other 'evidence', then hiding the original source so as to not have to reveal their methods in open court.
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            • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 3 weeks, 6 days ago
              It is disturbing to keep being reminded that the deep state in the US is not at all unlike the Party in China.
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              • Posted by ewv 3 weeks, 6 days ago
                The lack of objective law and due process is still much worse and more widespread in China, but for those targeted in the US the smaller percent of victims is meaningless -- for them it's 100%.
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                • Posted by  $  Thoritsu 3 weeks, 6 days ago
                  I question whether the wide vs narrow spread is from ethics with narrow motives or restraint from social inertia. The fundamental behavior is the same.
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                  • Posted by ewv 3 weeks, 6 days ago
                    The fundamental collectivist ethical premises are the same, but the implementation is still very different. Different mixed premises and sense of life during the progression over time are still maintaining different results, for now.
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    • Posted by  $  exceller 1 month ago

      At least Flynn is not dead yet.

      But he is on the brink of personal tragedy: he had to sell his house to pay his lawyers and take other sacrifices to save his family.

      Which of the slime at the FBI or DoJ suffered the same fate? Or any on the left pushing this disgrace beyond limits?

      The president must not fall into the same trap although I trust he has the necessary stamina and experience to deal with Mueller and his ilk. Mueller still intends to "interview' him, no question due to pressure from the left, despite having all the info he needs. He does not have one thing: the ability to trap Trump during a personal interview..
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  • Posted by  $  exceller 4 weeks ago
    This is from the WSJ today:

    Well, that was bizarre. We’re referring to the fiasco Tuesday of what was supposed to be the sentencing of Michael Flynn. The sentencing was postponed until next year, but not before federal Judge Emmet Sullivan damaged his own reputation with an extraordinary public attack on the former national security adviser for a crime he’s not been charged with or admitted to.
    Mr. Flynn pleaded guilty a year ago to a single count of lying to the FBI. Yet after being assured that the former three-star general is sticking with his plea, Judge Sullivan unloaded on the defendant over his supposed violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA.
    “All along, you were an unregistered agent of a foreign country while serving as the National Security Adviser to the President of the United States. That undermines everything this flag over here stands for. Arguably you sold your country out,” said the judge. He also used the words “treason” and “treasonous.”
    But Mr. Mueller has never charged Mr. Flynn with violating FARA, though the former general did represent the government of Turkey before he joined the Trump Administration. A judge isn’t supposed to lose his cool on the bench and berate a defendant for crimes that haven’t been adjudicated in court, much less spread false information.
    The outburst was too much even for the lawyers for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who had to tell the judge that Mr. Flynn did not represent any foreign entity while at the White House. Judge Sullivan later apologized, sort of, telling the courtroom not “to read too much into” his outburst about “treason.” But that came after the falsehood made global headlines.
    The FARA outburst does shed some more light on Mr. Mueller’s methods and Mr. Flynn’s guilty plea to a lying charge he may not have committed. FARA is a musty 1938 statute that requires “agents” of a foreign government or principals to disclose their activities.
    Mr. Mueller has resurrected FARA from the nearly dead to squeeze people in the Trump circle. Mr. Flynn’s work for Turkey included urging the U.S. government to extradite emigre cleric Fethullah Gulen to the tender mercies of Turkish justice. Mr. Gulen is a political opponent of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This is sleazy work but not illegal.
    Mr. Flynn also apparently failed to register under FARA, which would be a crime. And on Monday, just in time for Mr. Flynn’s sentencing, prosecutors in Virginia unveiled FARA charges against two former Flynn associates, accusing them of illegally lobbying for Turkey. The timing was not accidental.
    In 50 years through 2016, the Justice Department brought only seven criminal FARA cases and won three convictions. Two were dismissed and two others pleaded to non-FARA charges. Yet the willful failure to register as an agent can result in a sentence of five years in federal jail. It seems clear that Mr. Mueller was holding the threat of FARA charges over Mr. Flynn’s head if he failed to cooperate. Mr. Flynn’s plea to the charge of lying spared a longer potential jail term and bankruptcy for his family—as well as the threat of separate charges against his son.
    Yet as we’ve written, Mr. Flynn had no incentive to lie to the FBI agents who interviewed him in January 2017 about his contact with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Those talks were legal and normal for a new national security adviser. Government documents related to the Flynn sentencing suggest that the FBI lured the former general into a meeting without a lawyer, never making clear that Mr. Flynn was himself under criminal investigation.
    According to the FBI’s 302 account, “The interviewing agents asked FLYNN if he recalled any conversation with [Russian Ambassador] KISLYAK in which the expulsions were discussed, where FLYNN might have encouraged KISLYAK not to escalate the situation, to keep the Russian response reciprocal, or not to engage in a ‘tit-for-tat.’ FLYNN responded ‘Not really. I don’t remember. It wasn’t “Don’t do anything.” ’” No wonder the interviewing agents, according to an FBI summary, “both had the impression at the time that Flynn was not lying or did not think he was lying.”

    Appeared in the December 19, 2018, print edition.
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    • Posted by 4 weeks ago
      So, now Judge Sullivan has revealed that he is not an unbiased judge of the facts but an agent of the prosecution who is warning all others who have yet to be interviewed what unethical antics to expect from the Special(ly Biased) Prosecutor. This is another scare tactic with the so-called judge as bad cop.
      The treasonous actions are being done by federal agents of the FBI, the special prosecutor, and the judiciary, not by the administration or members of Trump's campaign.
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      • Posted by ewv 3 weeks, 6 days ago
        Prosecutors are always biased: they are out to 'make a case', though not always as low as the political motives of the Mueller/FBI attack. The conclusion is not reached until after the prosecutor makes his case in a court under strict rules and the defense has a chance to cross examine witnesses and present its own case, the result being decided by an impartial judge or jury.

        That procedure is a fact that is publicly overlooked as the media promotes Mueller as a supposed neutral investigator only concerned with the facts. That would not be true of Mueller as a prosecutor even if he were honest, yet we are expected to believe every unproved accusation and accept it in an expected unconstitutional 'impeachment report'.

        In addition, here we have a case in which the judge in the Flynn case is just as biased and the defendant has been coerced into a 'confession' with no opportunity to defend himself before the kangaroo court.

        The initial abuse, consisting of using the FBI as a secret police and a secret court (FISA) on behalf of a political party against its opposition, has expanded throughout the entire subsequent legal process.

        No wonder so many innocent people are frightened by what we are seeing. Yet the perpetrators, like Comey and the Democrats, are smearing Trump and us as "lying" about the wonderful FBI. The demands for subservience to the demand for state-worshiping regardless of the facts is at the heart of tyrannical statism. And that is the root of what is happening.
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  • Posted by  $  25n56il4 4 weeks ago
    I hesitate to comment here because I am severely prejudiced. I think Judges are lawyers who run for public office because they are a failure as lawyers. I have seen so many stupid statements by Judges...I heard one say 'I don't consider the home of an Army Major a proper place to raise children'. That just about did it for me. Into his face I stated, 'The only criteria to be a Judge in California is to not make it on your own as an attorney, and be a public appointee'. He wasn't thrilled with my remark but after what he had done, he had no recourse other than to duck his head and leave the room.
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    • Posted by ewv 3 weeks, 6 days ago
      They are lawyers, but many of them were successful practicing as lawyers, and most of them are appointed, not elected after running for office. They hold the same bad ideas that have spread everywhere, only have more power to impose them and become judges because they want to do that; the source of that isn't failing as lawyers, though some are looking for a more cushy job as a low level judge.
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  • Posted by  $  exceller 4 weeks, 1 day ago
    Judge Sullivan delayed sentencing and admonished Flynn for "selling out his country"

    What is going on? I thought Sullivan was a good judge.

    Is he pulling a Roberts?
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    • Posted by  $  Dobrien 4 weeks, 1 day ago
      Sullivan, a Clinton appointee to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, will decide whether Flynn goes to prison. Flynn’s defense attorneys from Covington & Burling and prosecutors working under special counsel Robert Mueller III have both recommended a sentence without jail time, citing Flynn’s extensive and timely cooperation with the government.

      Sullivan previously served on the District of Columbia Superior Court as an appointee of President Ronald Reagan, and he later served on the D.C. Court of Appeals, the District of Columbia’s top appellate court, under President George H.W. Bush.

      His tenure has been marked by occasionally colorful commentaries on the conduct of government lawyers and criticism of prosecutors for reaching corporate settlements that are not accompanied by prosecutions of individuals. In a quarter century on the bench, Sullivan has routinely drawn high-profile cases, among them the Justice Department’s mishandled prosecution of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens and the government’s successful challenge in 2016 to Staples’ proposed takeover of Office Depot.
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      • Posted by 4 weeks, 1 day ago
        He's a looter.
        He gets high profile cases because he can be relied upon to decide based upon what the looters want at the moment, and to reverse course whenever the order is given.
        Just following orders. There is no justice in DC, only just-us.
        I hope Trump can prove his complicity and corruption.
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        • Posted by  $  exceller 4 weeks, 1 day ago
          Looks that way.

          I am tired of Judges who seem to be doing the right thing but flip when it really matters. Roberts is quintessential example. One thinks there may be justice only to find out it has been a scam, again.

          It is not only judges. Consider Congress and the roles of some of the Republicans. Gowdy's tough questions were only that - questions. Nothing ever came of them.

          Same goes for Issa, Nunez and the others.

          As if they already capitulated to the left.
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          • Posted by  $  Dobrien 3 weeks, 6 days ago
            Judge orders deported asylum seekers to be returned to US, in Trump administration rebuke

            The ruling from U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington came a day after the same judge presided over a contentious sentencing hearing for former national security adviser Michael Flynn -- in which he questioned whether the ex-White House official committed “treason” and accused him of selling out the United States to foreign interests. He later delayed Flynn’s sentencing until 2019, as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
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      • Posted by  $  exceller 3 weeks, 6 days ago
        This from someone who was present in the courtroom:

        Michael Ledeen
        Dec. 19, 2018 7:11 p.m. ET
        The dramatic Tuesday hearing for former national security adviser Mike Flynn didn’t produce a sentence. Instead, Judge Emmet Sullivan gave Mr. Flynn a delay to reconsider his options. I was in the courtroom, and my reading of Judge Sullivan’s treatment of Mr. Flynn (with whom I co-wrote a 2016 book) was rather different from what most reporters have said and written.
        Judge Sullivan repeatedly invited Mr. Flynn to reconsider his guilty plea on a charge of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Judge Sullivan stressed that he had not presided over earlier proceedings in the case and that he was prepared to have Mr. Flynn change his plea or even ask for a dismissal of charges. At times, the judge seemed to implore Mr. Flynn to reopen the deal he made with special counsel Robert Mueller, implying that there was reason to believe his guilty plea had been wrongfully arranged.
        Mr. Flynn wasn’t interested. Over and over he told Judge Sullivan that he was comfortable with his confession, did not wish to have it reconsidered, and wanted the judge to pronounce sentence. But Judge Sullivan continued unsuccessfully to invite a change in Mr. Flynn’s plea.
        It was a bizarre situation. Judge Sullivan clearly did not wish to pass sentence, and he warned Mr. Flynn that the punishment could be greater than the “low end” the prosecutors and defense lawyers alike were seeking and that Mr. Flynn clearly wanted, thereby ending two years of misery."

        I don't know how to interpret this. It certainly sounds different from what we read so far.
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        • Posted by  $  Dobrien 3 weeks, 6 days ago
          Yes I saw that also. The story has many twists and turns. Q has said Flynn is safe "we protect our patriots" As the world turns.
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          • Posted by  $  exceller 3 weeks, 6 days ago
            What did he mean by "Flynn is safe"? That he is going to go free?

            Regarding Sullivan, apparently he made a comment about his "traitor" and "sold your country out" remarks, saying people should not make much of it. Why did he say it then?

            The whole affair is foggy. But if there is sign to go by, the Mueller team released the statement that "Flynn should not have lied to the FBI" and that he was not set up.

            Maybe they should specify how are we supposed to interpret it if not a full fledged setup? For starters, the FBI routinely lies. Think of Comey, Strzok and McCabe.

            Second, he was not under oath and he was lured into a "friendly" conversation. He should have known better, and that is the only "crime" he has committed. Never believe they have your best interest in mind.
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