FBI records in Flynn investigation bring new questions on agency’s role

FILE - In this Monday, June 24, 2019, file photo, Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, departs a federal courthouse after a hearing, in Washington. Trump said Sunday, March 15, 2020, that he is considering a full pardon for Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about dealings with Russia’s ambassador before Trump took office. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Newly unsealed documents were made public in the case involving former national security adviser Michael Flynn. A Fox News story says former agent Peter Strzok ordered the investigation of Flynn to remain open even after it was slated to be closed due to a lack of so-called “derogatory” information.

The January 4 memo concluded with this paragraph: “The FBI is closing this investigation. If new information is identified or reported to the FBI regarding the activities of CROSSFIRE RAZOR, the FBI will consider reopening the investigation if warranted.”

Yet, on that same day – Jan. 4, 2017 – Strzok instructed the FBI case manager handling CROSSFIRE RAZOR to keep the investigation open. “Hey don’t close RAZOR,” Strzok texted an unidentified individual.

Fox News says it’s currently unknown why Strzok directed the FBI case manager to keep the Flynn investigation open. The timing of emails between Strzok and ex-FBI lawyer Lisa Page seem to suggest that they used the Logan Act to keep CROSSFIRE RAZOR alive; Strzok forwarded a 14-page research paper on the Logan Act the same day.

The Logan Act is a little-known 1799 federal law that forbids negotiation by unauthorized citizens with foreign governments that have current disputes with the United States government. It has never been used in a criminal prosecution and according to many it holds questionable constitutional status.

Flynn originally was questioned his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during President Donald Trump’s transition period in late 2016.

A CBS News report indicated that handwritten notes dated January 24, 2017 read in part “We have a case on Flynn & Russians.”  In a section titled “Afterwards,” it states, “What is our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired? “If we get him to admit to breaking the Logan Act give facts to DOJ + have them decide..If we’re seen as playing games, WH will be furious.  Protect our institution by not playing games.”

A tweet from law professor Jonathan Turley, who testified during the Trump impeachment inquiry, says “we need to hear from the DOJ official on the meaning of this note. However, the reference to the Logan Act is particularly chilling. It suggests the use of a flagrantly unconstitutional act to trap a top Trump official.”

Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, indicated the Flynn legal team would file a consent motion to request additional exhibits be unsealed. “The revelations of corruption by the FBI to intentionally frame Gen. Flynn for crimes the FBI manufactured piles on with each new production of documents,” Powell wrote in a statement.

A federal prosecutor from Missouri is reviewing the Justice Department’s handling of the case at the direction of Attorney General William Barr. The department said the documents were provided as part of that review.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.