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Attorney General William Barr on Michael Flynn, Obamacare and coronavirus restrictions – Transcript
The Justice Department on Thursdayagainst Michael Flynn, President Trump’s first national security adviser. Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the former Russian ambassador to the U.S. — but in January, Flynn asked the court to allow him to withdraw his guilty plea, citing the government’s “bad faith, vindictiveness and breach of the plea agreement.”
In a motion filed in U.S. district court, federal prosecutors asked the judge to dismiss the single count of making false statements to the FBI, claiming the government concluded that the FBI’s interview of Flynn “was untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation.”
As you recall, in January, General Flynn moved to withdraw his plea, and also alleged misconduct by the government. And at that time, I asked a very seasoned U.S. attorney, who had spent ten years as an FBI agent and ten years as a career prosecutor, Jeff Jensen, from St. Louis, to come in and take a fresh look at this whole case. And he found some additional material. And last week, he came in and briefed me and made a recommendation that we dismiss the case, which I fully agreed with, as did the U.S. attorney in D.C. So we’ve moved to dismiss the case.
So this decision to dismiss by the Justice Department, this all came together really within the last week, based on new evidence?
Right. Well U.S. Attorney Jensen since January has been investigating this. And he reported to me last week.
Does the new evidence show that the counterintelligence case against General Flynn was simply left open to lay a trap for lying?
Yes. Essentially. They had started a counterintelligence investigation during the summer, as you know, related to the campaign. But in December, the team, the Crossfire Hurricane team, was closing that and determined they had found nothing to justify continuing with that investigation against Flynn.
On the very day they prepared the final papers, the seventh floor, that is the director’s office and the deputy director’s office up there, sent down word they should keep that open. So that they could try to go and question Flynn about this call he had with the Russian ambassador.
Let me say that, at that point, he was the designated national security adviser for President-Elect Trump, and was part of the transition, which is recognized by the government and funded by the government as an important function to bring in a new administration. And it is very typical, very common for the national security team of the incoming president to communicate with foreign leaders.
And that call, there was nothing wrong with it whatever. In fact, it was laudable. He– and it was nothing inconsistent with the Obama administration’s policies. And it was in U.S. interests. He was saying to the Russians, you know, “Don’t escalate.” And they asked him if he remembered saying that, and he said he didn’t remember that.
Read the full interview here.