FBI director orders internal review of Flynn investigation

Flynn's prosecution by former special counsel Robert Mueller's team for lying to the FBI has been a frequent target of President Donald Trump's anger.
Image: FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies to the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about "worldwide threats" on Capitol Hill in Washington
FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about "worldwide threats" on Jan. 29, 2019.Joshua Roberts / Reuters file

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By Pete Williams

WASHINGTON — FBI Director Christopher Wray ordered an internal review Friday into how agents investigated former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Flynn's prosecution by former special counsel Robert Mueller's team for lying to the FBI has been a frequent target of President Donald Trump's anger. Earlier this month, the Justice Department sought to abandon the case, concluding that Flynn's actions did not amount to a federal crime. A judge has not yet ruled on the government’s motion to drop the case.

The FBI said the review will look at what happened, determine whether any FBI employees engaged in misconduct and should be disciplined and evaluate whether any of the bureau's policies should be changed. A senior official said Friday that Wray's decision to order the review did not mean that he has concluded that the investigation was flawed.

Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to a charge of lying to federal agents, admitting that he falsely described his phone conversations with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. during the Trump transition. Flynn was not Trump's national security adviser at the time of the conversation, which occurred in December 2016. He became national security adviser in January 2017.

Flynn later fired his lawyers, brought in a new team and then asked for the judge's permission to withdraw his guilty plea, a request that has not yet been granted.

In January, Attorney General William Barr asked the U.S. attorney in St. Louis, Jeffrey Jensen, to look into the FBI's handling of the case. Those findings led Flynn's new legal team to accuse the FBI of setting out to get Flynn to lie, and they were a significant factor in the Justice Department's efforts, at Barr's direction, to end the prosecution.

Wray said FBI agents who have been helping Jensen examine the investigation will contribute to the internal review, which he said will "complements the already substantial assistance the FBI has been providing" to Jensen.

Flynn's lawyer, Sidney Powell, greeted the news of Wray's order with skepticism on Twitter. "WOW? And how is he going to investigate himself? And how could anyone trust it?"