Don’t be surprised if there are gaps in the FBI’s transcripts of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s phone calls with then-Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, if Trey Gowdy is to be believed.
The former congressman hinted to Fox News’ Martha MacCallum last week that the agency’s records may be incomplete and will show only the portion of Flynn’s calls that were “actually captured” by federal investigators, the Washington Examiner reported.
Gowdy: FBI didn’t capture all calls
The Department of Justice recently moved to drop its case against Flynn for lying to investigators about his contacts with the then-Russian ambassador during the presidential transition, arguing that his FBI interview was not legally justified. Flynn at first pleaded guilty, but he moved to withdraw his plea after evidence surfaced of misconduct on the part of the FBI.
While the Flynn case has become a political football, allies and foes of Flynn alike have called for the phone call transcripts to be released, with Republicans and Democrats arguing that the contents will likely vindicate or incriminate him, respectively.
Gowdy, a former member of the House Intelligence Committee, teased that their contents will show that Flynn was up to nothing sinister, although the transcripts will probably be incomplete.
“I think that you will look at the ones that they actually captured. I think there were multiple calls, and some of the transcripts didn’t come through — at least, that was the explanation we were given,” Gowdy told Fox, according to the Examiner.
“I think when the transcripts are released, you’re gonna be bored out of your mind. And you’re going to wonder, ‘This is criminal? This is enough to target a three-star general? This conversation?'” Gowdy added, as the Examiner reported. “The ones that are available, I have read. I think the FBI told us they didn’t capture all the calls — some of them they missed. Don’t know what was on those, but you will be bored out of your mind.”
Accountability remains elusive
The Obama administration had concerns about Flynn’s calls during its final weeks and, according to the New York Post, even considered withholding information about Russia from him, circumstances which Trump allies argue point to a conspiracy to entrap Flynn and derail the incoming president.
If there are missing sections of the call transcripts, that may add to speculation that the FBI willfully destroyed exculpatory evidence in the Flynn case, such as interview notes that have been reported mysteriously “missing” by the FBI.
President Trump’s outgoing interim spy chief, Richard Grenell, has started declassifying Flynn’s calls with the ambassador, after already disclosing a list of top Obama officials who sought to “unmask” Flynn in reports from the National Security Agency (NSA), as NBC News reported. As the Examiner notes, it was reported last week that the FBI, not the NSA, intercepted Flynn’s late December 2016 calls with the Russian ambassador.
The Flynn case is also getting a second look from FBI boss Christopher Wray, who recently ordered an internal investigation of the agency’s handling of the matter, as Fox News reported.
While Gowdy blasted Wray for taking too long to conduct such a review, the former lawmaker has also come under fire himself for failing to contradict those who trumpeted the Russia hoax as it was unfolding.