The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has launched an internal review to determine whether misconduct occurred during the agency’s investigation of retired lieutenant general and onetime national security advisor Michael Flynn.
FBI Director Chris Wray authorized the inquiry on Friday, according to a statement obtained by Fox News reporter David Spunt.
“FBI Director Wray today ordered the Bureau’s Inspection Division to conduct an after-action review of the Michael Flynn investigation,” the statement notes. “The after-action review will have a two-fold purpose: (1) evaluate the relevant facts related to the FBI’s role in the Flynn investigation and determine whether any current employees engaged in misconduct, and (2) evaluate any FBI policies, procedures, or controls implicated by the Flynn investigation and identify any improvements that might be warranted.”
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) already has an extant review of the Flynn case open. That effort is being led by U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri Jeff Jensen.
The FBI cast its investigation as complementary to the Jensen review:
The after-action review will complement the already substantial assistance the FBI has been providing to U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen in connection with his work on the Flynn case. Under Director Wray’s leadership, the FBI has been fully transparent and cooperative with Mr. Jensen, and the FBI’s help has included providing special agents to assist Mr. Jensen in the fact-finding process. Although the FBI does not have the prosecutorial authority to bring a criminal case, the Inspection Division can and will evaluate whether any current onboard employees engaged in actions that might warrant disciplinary measures. As for former employees, the FBI does not have the ability to take any disciplinary action.
“Director Wray authorized this additional level of review now that the Department of Justice, through Mr. Jensen’s work, has developed sufficient information to determine how to proceed in the Flynn case,” the statement continues. “However, Mr. Jensen’s work will continue to take priority, and the Director has further ordered the Inspection Division to coordinate closely with Mr. Jensen and ensure that the review does not interfere with or impeded his efforts. Relatedly, for purposes of ensuring investigative continuity across these unrelated matters, the Inspection Division will also utilize to the extent practicable the special agents that the FBI previously assigned to assist Mr. Jensen.”
Jensen was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to helm the Missouri branch of the U.S. Attorney’s office in October 2017. In mid February of this year, he was tasked by Attorney General William Barr to review the DOJ’s potential misdeeds viz. the Flynn prosecution.
In early May, Barr announced the DOJ was jettisoning the case against the Trumpworld favorite–citing the revelation of allegedly exculpatory evidence which showed the FBI never had any real interest in Flynn and had nearly shuttered the case until the intervention of disgraced former FBI agent and Trump critic Peter Strzok.
A motion to dismiss those charges was filed on May 7 to a sustained outcry from Democrats and a myriad of former federal prosecutors. Seemingly joining Trump’s official opposition with an askance view of the government’s volte-face was U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan–himself a Flynn critic who once incorrectly as a matter of law suggested the defendant could have been charged with “treason” during a sentencing hearing in December 2018.
Sullivan quickly backtracked from his legally off-base criticism of Flynn but suggested–against the government’s wishes–that he might very well put Flynn behind bars. The outburst was just enough for Flynn’s attorneys to call for an abrupt postponement of the proceedings.
Flynn shook up his legal team several months later and moved to withdraw his guilty plea a few months after that.
[image via Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images]
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