Flynn Met Secretly With The FBI In His West Wing Office While Trump Was Just 20 Feet Way: Report
Just days after President Donald Trump was sworn–in, former national security adviser Michael Flynn met privately in his West Wing office with FBI investigators interested in his communications with Russian operatives, without a lawyer or the knowledge of White House officials and the president, who was just feet away in the oval office at the time, people familiar with the matter told NBC News.
Flynn’s FBI interview on Jan. 24, 2017, set in motion an extraordinary sequence of events unparalleled for the first year of a U.S. presidency, NBC News reports. The disgraced general was fired as national security adviser after 24 days on the job, the acting attorney general was fired 10 days after the president took office, the FBI director was allegedly pressured by the president to let go of an investigation into Flynn, and then eventually fired himself.
Attorney general Jeff Sessions was forced to recuse himself from a federal investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and possible collusion with the sitting president’s campaign, and a special counsel was appointed.
As noted in the report:
“The developments ensnared the president in an obstruction of justice inquiry, which resulted in his top intelligence and law enforcement chiefs cooperating in some form with that probe.
By the end of 2017, special counsel Robert Mueller’s team had spoken with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats; Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency; former FBI Director James Comey; and numerous members of Trump’s campaign and White House inner circle. Flynn pleaded guilty last month to lying to the FBI during his Jan. 24 interview and is cooperating with the Russia investigation.
NBC News also has learned that former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who informed the White House about Flynn’s interview two days after it took place, has cooperated with the special counsel. CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who was allegedly asked by Trump to lean on Comey to drop his investigation, has also been interviewed, according to people familiar with the inquiry.
One person familiar with the matter described Pompeo, Coats and Rogers as “peripheral witnesses” to the Comey firing. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who played a key role in Comey’s departure and was a top adviser on the Trump campaign, was interviewed by Mueller last week as the special counsel’s team inches closer to possibly questioning the president himself.”
CNN reported Wednesday that Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon will meet with Mueller’s team by Jan. 31 and his interview is expected to shed more light into the Russia scandal.
The news comes as Trump and his Republican allies in Congres escalated intensify their attacks against the FBI and the Justice Department.
In recent weeks Trump has taken aim at McCabe, whose office first arranged Flynn’s FBI interview.
On Tuesday, the White House scrambled to respond to reports of pressure to fire McCabe by saying in a statement that Trump “believes politically motivated senior leaders” of the FBI “have tainted the agency’s reputation for unbiased pursuit of justice” and that the new director he “appointed” will “clean up the misconduct at the highest levels of the FBI.”
For Trump and his allies, he’s battling a conspiracy within the top ranks of the Justice Department to undermine his presidency. For the president’s critics, however, his war with the FBI is an effort to undermine the Russia investigation.
Flynn was fired as Trump’s national security adviser on Feb. 13, after it became public that he had lied to Pence about his conversation with Kislyak.
The next day Trump asked Comey to drop the investigation into Flynn, according to Comey’s testimony before Congress.