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Politics & Policy

FBI Director Orders Internal Review of Bureau’s Handling of Flynn Investigation

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before a Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the Bureau’s proposed 2020 budget, May 7, 2019. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

FBI Director Christopher Wray has ordered an internal review to assess the bureau’s handling of the investigation into former national-security adviser Michael Flynn, the FBI announced Friday.

“FBI Director Christopher Wray today ordered the Bureau’s Inspection Division to conduct an after-action review of the Michael Flynn investigation,” the FBI said in a statement.

The review will determine whether any “current employees engaged in misconduct” as well as whether “improvements” to FBI procedures and policies are needed.

“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,” the bureau said.

Flynn, a retired three-star general, was fired by President Trump after the revelation that he made contradictory statements to Vice President Mike Pence about whether he had discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. He pled guilty later in 2017 to making false statements to the FBI regarding his contacts with the Russian ambassador. The case against the former national-security adviser arose from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia.

In January, however, Flynn requested to withdraw his guilty plea, saying he believes he “did not lie” to FBI investigators. His February sentencing hearing was canceled.

The Justice Department earlier this month moved to drop the charges against Flynn, a controversial decision that unleashed a wave of criticism against Attorney General William Barr.

Barr defended his decision to have the case dropped, saying it “upheld the rule of law” and “undid what was an injustice.”

The federal judge overseeing the criminal case against Flynn, Judge Emmet Sullivan, is now weighing charges of perjury or contempt for Flynn even as the Justice Department seeks to have the case dismissed.

Sullivan said he has appointed a former federal judge, John Gleeson, to argue against the DOJ’s attempt to dismiss the case. Gleeson, a Clinton appointee who served as a federal judge in New York, has expressed suspicion that the DOJ’s move was tainted by political influence.

The FBI’s review will “complement” the Justice Department’s separate review of the case, which is being directed by the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, Jeff Jensen.

The FBI said it has already provided “substantial assistance” to Jensen for the DOJ’s review, including “providing special agents to assist Mr. Jensen in the fact-finding process.”

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