The belated discovery of disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok’s January 2017 notes raises troubling new questions about whether President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were coordinating efforts during their final days in office to investigate Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn — even as the FBI wanted to shut down the case.
Investigators will need to secure testimony from Strzok, fired two years ago from the FBI, to be certain of the exact meaning and intent of his one paragraph of notes, which were made public in court on Wednesday.
But they appear to illuminate an extraordinary high-level effort by outgoing Obama-era officials during the first weekend of January to find a way to sustain a counterintelligence investigation of Flynn in the absence of any evidence of wrongdoing.
The Justice Department says the notes were written between Jan. 3-5, 2017, the very weekend the FBI agent who had investigated Flynn’s ties to Russia for five months recommended the case be closed because there was “no derogatory” evidence that he committed a crime or posed a counterintelligence threat. FBI supervisors overruled the agent's recommendation.
Strzok’s notes appear to quote then-FBI Director James Comey as suggesting that Flynn’s intercepted calls with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak “appear legit,” bolstering other recently disclosed evidence showing the bureau saw nothing wrong with Flynn’s behavior.
The notes also suggest Biden — who once claimed he had no knowledge of the Flynn probe — raised the issue of the Logan Act, an obscure, centuries-old law, as a possible avenue for continuing to investigate Flynn.
And Strzok appears to quote Obama as suggesting the FBI assign “the right people” to pursue the case.
You can read the notes here:
These conversations, if accurately portrayed in the Strzok notes, occurred during the same three-day period in which FBI supervisors overruled their field agent’s recommendation to shut down the Flynn case and pivoted toward the strategy of luring Flynn into an FBI interview where he might be caught lying.
Sidney Powell, Flynn’s lawyer, laid out the potential ramifications of the notes in a court filing on Wednesday, calling the new evidence “stunning and exculpatory.”
“Mr. Obama himself directed that ‘the right people’ investigate General Flynn. This caused former FBI Director Comey to acknowledge the obvious: General Flynn’s phone calls with Ambassador Kislyak ‘appear legit,’” Powell argued in her new motion.
“According to Strzok’s notes, it appears that Vice President Biden personally raised the idea of the Logan Act. That became an admitted pretext to investigate General Flynn,” she added.
You can read her filing here:
The notes are unlikely to have a substantial impact on the outcome of Flynn’s case because a three-judge appeals court panel in Washington earlier Wednesday ordered U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to immediately dismiss Flynn’s prior conviction for lying to the FBI.
Even if the rebuked judge appeals the decision or the full appeals court reconsiders the case, Flynn is likely on a path to being a free and innocent man.
The real impact of the notes may be on the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation of the Russia investigators, where U.S. Attorneys John Durham and Jeff Jensen are determining whether the FBI or others committed crimes in deceiving the courts or Congress about the evidence in the now-discredited Russia collusion allegations.
A former senior FBI official told Just the News that Strzok’s notes about the White House meeting are a red flag that the Comey-led bureau may have been involving itself illegitimately in a political dispute between the outgoing Obama administration and incoming Trump administration.
“It was a political meeting about a policy dispute, and the bureau had no business being involved,” Former Assistant Director for Intelligence Kevin Brock said. “No other FBI director would ever have attended such a meeting.
“Comey is quoted in the notes as saying the Kislyak call appeared legit. At that point he should have gotten up and left the room," Brock added.
"The FBI had no business being represented in that meeting. It did not have a counterintelligence interest any longer.”
A second impact of the notes could be on the campaign trail. A few months ago, Biden claimed he was unaware of the Flynn probe as he was leaving the VP’s office.
“I know nothing about those moves to investigate Michael Flynn,” he said.
He then clarified his denial.
“I was aware that … they asked for an investigation,” Biden said. “But that’s all I know about it, and I don’t think anything else.”
If Powell’s interpretation of the notes is correct, Biden was knowledgeable enough to suggest a possible pretext for continued investigation, the Logan Act. And he eventually unmasked one of Flynn's intercepted phone calls a week later.
Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes told Just the News on Wednesday the newly discovered notes affirm his long-held suspicion that the Obama White House was trying to influence the FBI’s Russia probe in untoward ways.
“Now we know both Obama and Biden were directly involved in planning the attack on Flynn,” Nunes said.
“The Obama administration exploited our intelligence community to spy on their political opponents and engineer bogus investigations and prosecutions of them.
“This is the single biggest abuse of power I’ve seen in my lifetime,” he added.