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'Tail wagging the dog': Washington Post, leaker reignited FBI's Flynn probe

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pepperonikkid

'Tail wagging the dog': Washington Post, leaker reignited FBI's Flynn probe

 

https://www.washingtontimes.com/

By Rowan Scarborough - The Washington Times

 Wednesday, May 27, 2020

 

Article:

 

Not much was going on in the Michael Flynn probe until The Washington Post and a leaker reenergized the FBI, according to a newly disclosed transcript of closed-door testimony by former bureau Director James B. Comey.

The FBI had filled out the paperwork to end the Flynn-Russia probe, but Mr. Comey halted the closing in early January 2017. Transcripts emerged of the incoming White House national security adviser talking by phone with Kremlin envoy Sergey Kislyak.

The retired three-star Army general and Mr. Kislyak talked about not overreacting to economic sanctions that President Obama imposed on Dec. 31, 2016, in retaliation for Moscow’s election interference.

Mr. Comey went to work. He provided top-secret call intercept material to Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, who told Mr. Obama. At a Jan. 5 White House meeting, the FBI chief and Mr. Obama again discussed that Flynn had talked with Russians during the transition. There is no law, per se, against such communications.

And there things stood, Mr. Comey said in his most extensive narrative of what he did in the pivotal January time frame when the Obama team was leaving the White House to Donald Trump.

“Nothing, to my mind, happens until the 13th of January, when David Ignatius publishes a column that contains a reference to communications Michael Flynn had with the Russians,” Mr. Comey told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 2, 2017.

The Justice Department filed his declassified transcript to support its motion to have U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan sign an order dismissing the case against Flynn, who had been accused of lying to federal agents about his communications with Mr. Kislyak.

The Ignatius column is a powerful example of how anti-Trump forces within the bureaucracy — President Trump calls it the “swamp” — can change history.

“Tail wagging the dog,” said a Republican congressional staffer.

Without the Ignatius column disclosing the phone call, Vice President Mike Pence likely would not have given a White House denial that Sunday that sanctions were ever discussed.

His denial woke up a moribund investigation. FBI agent Peter Strzok, who headed the Trump-Russia Crossfire Hurricane probe and selected Flynn as a target, now had a discrepancy between the Kislyak call transcript and Flynn’s version. Mr. Comey’s decision to drop the Flynn probe in early January was history.

Then-acting Attorney General Sally Q. Yates urged Mr. Comey to notify the Trump White House, but he declined.

 

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"The retired three-star Army general and Mr. Kislyak talked about not overreacting to economic sanctions that President Obama imposed on Dec. 31, 2016, in retaliation for Moscow’s election interference."

My understanding of the transcript was that there was nothing about sanctions mentioned at all.

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