The Corner

Law & the Courts

AG Barr Confirms: Strzok Notes Are for January 5 White House Meeting

I have a column up on the homepage today about developments in the Flynn case. In the main, I address a new revelation: The Justice Department has just disclosed to Sidney Powell, General Michael Flynn’s attorney, handwritten notes attributed to fired FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok. The notes describe a meeting very early in 2017 that included discussion of the Bureau’s then-ongoing investigation of Flynn. The participants were the political and law-enforcement leadership of the Obama administration: President Obama, Vice President Biden, national-security adviser Susan Rice, deputy attorney general Sally Yates, and FBI director James Comey.

As I explain in the column, there has been some confusion in the commentary about Strzok’s notes, in particular regarding the date of the meeting and whether there was more than one meeting. We already knew that the five just-mentioned officials had met on January 5, 2017. But a submission to the court by Ms. Powell dated Strzok’s notes on January 4, thus suggesting that there had been a meeting on a date earlier than January 5 (presumably January 4), in which the same five participants discussed the same topic. (Obviously, if Strzok’s notes are from January 4, they could not describe a meeting that didn’t happen until January 5.)

To the contrary, I have contended that the Strzok notes are actually about the January 5 meeting, meaning they can’t be from January 4.

Attorney general Bill Barr appears to have confirmed that the notes relate to the January 5 meeting. He appeared on Verdict with Ted Cruz, a podcast the senator hosts along with Michael Knowles. The episode is here, and the relevant discussion begins a little more than 16 minutes in. While the discussion confirms that the notes describe some of what was discussed at the January 5 White House meeting, it left unaddressed whether Strzok was present (I do not believe he was) and, assuming he wasn’t, who might have briefed Strzok about the meeting. (I suspect the notes, which are very sketchy, are third-hand, at best.)

As I explain in the column, the notes could be significant in the sense that they are additional confirmation of an important meeting. They do not, however, tell us anything of significance that we did not already know from other documents already disclosed.

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