The case of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has taken some strange twists over the past two years.
But this week might have seen one of the oddest twists of all:
The Department of Justice admitted it had reversed the identifications in recently filed paperwork of two key players in the whole Flynn story.
The retired Army general pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI during an interview conducted in January 2017 — in the hectic first days of the Trump administration. The agents who conducted that interview were Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka.
Flynn’s crime was allegedly failing to come clean to the agents about all of his contacts with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
A sentencing hearing in December 2018 was delayed, purportedly to give Flynn a chance to cooperate with prosecutors in return for leniency.
Almost a year later, as the case has dragged on, Flynn has a different attorney from the one who represented him during the guilty plea.
And one who clearly has no intention of letting her client be railroaded.
At what was supposed to be a hearing in September to set a new sentencing date, Flynn attorney Sidney Powell told Judge Emmet Sullivan the defense team wanted the case tossed entirely over what it called “egregious conduct and suppression of evidence” by the FBI.
In late October, Powell filed a motion that, as The Federalist’s Margot Cleveland wrote, pivoted “between showcasing the prosecution’s penchant for withholding evidence and exposing significant new evidence the defense team uncovered that establishes a concerted effort to entrap Flynn. Along the way, Powell drops half-a-dozen problems with Flynn’s plea and an equal number of justifications for outright dismissal of the criminal charges against Flynn.”
Among the key issues are the FBI agents’ notes of their interview with Flynn, known as “302s” in the bureau’s parlance.
Powell’s brief argued that the 302s from Flynn’s interview had been edited by none other than Lisa Page, the FBI attorney who was Strzok’s adulterous lover during the time surrounding the 2016 presidential campaign and a key player in the investigation that targeted Donald Trump’s aides.
The alterations, Powell argued, were done deliberately to make it appear that Flynn had lied to the agents.
On Friday, the government released the agents’ handwritten 302s, Politico reported.
And that’s where the latest twist in the case comes in.
A Twitter user identified as Techno Fog, who has covered the Flynn case closely since it started, posted documents Tuesday showing the Department of Justice acknowledging that the 302s it had filed incorrectly labeled Stzrok’s notes as belonging to Pientka, and Pientka’s notes as belonging to Strzok.
The admission came in a letter to Powell from Jessie K. Liu, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.
New letter to the Court from DOJ on the Flynn case.
They misidentified the FBI agents’ notes. ?♂️
Strzok’s notes are really Pientka’s notes, and Pientka’s notes are really Strzok’s notes. pic.twitter.com/9eTBZrymv9
— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) November 5, 2019
Powell retweeted that post and herself expressed outraged incredulity at the DOJ’s letter.
She particularly highlighted the role of her client’s chief prosecutor, Brandon Van Grack, in the case.
So, let me get this straight. #VanGrack has given us false or wrong information in a federal court proceeding for 18 months, but @GenFlynn is supposed to be a #felon for a made-up “false” statement from an ambush interview #FBI had no legal basis to conduct?@realDonaldTrump pic.twitter.com/KA2uVWFyyg
— Sidney Powell ??⭐⭐⭐ (@SidneyPowell1) November 6, 2019
And she got plenty of responses.
General Flynn should be exonerated immediately
— Karen Keeble (@KarenKeeble4) November 6, 2019
It is so amazing that our media can go after police officers everyday. Democrats and our previous POTUS throw accusations against LE on a regular basis. They have been very quiet about the behavior of misconduct of FBI and CIA against this administration
— Keith Connelly (@KeithConnelly3) November 6, 2019
Every American should ask him/herself how have we arrived to a point where an entire bureaucracy jointly with the Dems Party are coordinating a coup in daylight, to remove a duly elected president, while engaging in criminal behavior, yet Americans’ silence is deafening.
— b.b (@becker_berta) November 6, 2019
That last one brings up a key question.
It’s not clear at all what effect, if any, the DOJ’s admission will have on the Flynn case. But viewed from any angle — major or not, minor or not — it’s simply unbelievable.
Taken in the most favorable light for the Justice Department, it shows a troubling carelessness and ineptitude most Americans don’t expect from their legal system — much less in the handling of a major federal felony case involving a retired general of the United States Army.
In a less favorable light, it could indicate a disregard for truth and prove the whole Flynn prosecution to be a sham that was one of the first of many deep state attacks on the Trump presidency.
Either way, it’s becoming more and more obvious every day that the hostility of the Washington establishment — from the FBI to the State Department to Democrats on Capitol Hill — has been unremitting from the beginning, and not too particular about the law when it came to dealing with Trump and the people in his administration.
The case of retired Gen. Michael Flynn, who is facing prison time in what looks more and more like a cooked-up prosecution, keeps raising the question of whether the law is being fairly applied at the highest levels.
And the latest twist just makes the need for an answer even clearer.
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