FBI to Conduct Internal Review of Flynn Probe

Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, departs a federal courthouse after a hearing in Washington on June 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WASHINGTON (CN) — With the fate of his guilty plea still undecided, the FBI on Friday announced an internal review of its investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The announcement of the “after-action review” from FBI Director Christopher Wray is the latest turn in Flynn’s saga, which has boiled over in recent weeks with a series of surprising developments in the criminal case against him.

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his communications with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition to the Trump administration, but has since moved to withdraw his plea and claimed the FBI engaged in misconduct. The Justice Department earlier this month asked a federal judge to drop the charges, abandoning one of the highest-profile prosecutions to come out of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In the motion, the Justice Department said it had determined the interview in which Flynn made the statements that formed the basis of the case against him was “not conducted with a legitimate investigate basis.” Flynn has argued federal agents tricked him into lying.

The internal review Wray announced on Friday will focus on whether any current FBI employees committed misconduct during the investigation into Flynn and on possible improvements to agency policies.

The agency’s statement says it is possible the investigation will lead to discipline for current employees, though the FBI cannot do the same to former employees. 

“Although the FBI does not have the prosecutorial authority to bring a criminal case, the Inspection Division can and will evaluate whether any current on-board employees engaged in actions that might warrant disciplinary measures,” the agency said in a statement.

The Flynn investigation has been a particular focus of President Donald Trump, who has frequently lashed out at the FBI for what he perceives as a bias against his campaign.

The Justice Department is conducting its own review of the Flynn case led by U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen, which the FBI said Friday “will continue to take priority.” The FBI said the Inspection Division will coordinate with Jensen  and that its internal investigation will provide an “additional level of review” of the Flynn case. 

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, a Bill Clinton appointee, has not yet dismissed the charges against Flynn despite the Justice Department’s request, instead asking for outside input on how to resolve the case. Flynn has in turn asked the D.C. Circuit to order Sullivan to dismiss the case.

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