A federal judge late Wednesday unsealed a new set of documents provided to lawyers for Michael Flynn, the former Trump national security adviser who is seeking to withdraw his guilty plea, that could provide them with new ammunition to attack the FBI's handling of the case.
One of the pages is a handwritten note, apparently from an FBI official, about the bureau's interview with Flynn. "What's our goal? Truth/Admission or get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?" Elsewhere, it says, "we have a case on Flynn + Russians."
It is unclear who wrote the note or whether it was ever sent to anyone else. The document was turned over to Flynn's lawyers by Jeffrey Jensen, a U.S. attorney in Missouri appointed by Attorney General William Barr to examine the Flynn investigation.
Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to charges that he lied to the FBI by falsely denying that he had conversations with Russia's ambassador to the United States during the Trump transition. But he has since replaced his original legal team with a new group of lawyers, and they have aggressively argued that Flynn was tricked into lying.
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Flynn was fired after the White House concluded that he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan of Washington, D.C., has delayed Flynn's sentencing while waiting for the original defense team to finish turning over all of its case files, but he has given no indication of how he would rule on the motion to withdraw the guilty plea.
Much of the note unsealed Wednesday is a straightforward summary of the FBI's approach to Flynn's Jan. 24, 2017, interview with the FBI at the White House. Among the items: "Our goal is to resolve case" and "Our goal is to determine if Mike Flynn is going to tell the truth @ his relationship w/Russians."
The note also said, "If we're seen as playing games, WH will be furious," using the common abbreviation for White House, and "Protect our institution for not playing games."
Flynn's newly appointed lawyers have repeatedly argued that the FBI committed misconduct in its handling of the investigation. One of them, Sidney Powell, said in a court filing last week that Flynn "was deliberately set up and framed by corrupt agents at the top of the FBI."
Powell did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday night.
President Donald Trump said in a Tweet last month that he was strongly considering a pardon for Flynn.