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FBI chief orders internal review into probe of Trump ex-aide Flynn

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Deanna Wagner | 24 May, 2020, 04:06

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered D.C. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on Thursday to respond by June 1 to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn's writ of mandamus petition.

The after-action review will examine whether any current employees engaged in misconduct during the course of the investigation and evaluate whether any improvements in FBI policies and procedures need to be made.

This comes just days after a declassified, January 2017 email from then-Obama administration national security adviser Susan Rice revealed that then-FBI Director James Comey's push to investigate Flynn lacked evidence.

The request to dismiss the case has triggered its own internal back-and-forth in the courts.

Sullivan also asked retired NY judge John Gleeson to examine whether Flynn may have committed perjury while pleading guilty to lying about his pre-inauguration contacts with Russia's ambassador. Trump and his allies have denounced the FBI's investigation of contacts between his campaign and Russians.

Earlier this month, the DOJ filed a motion with Judge Sullivan asking to drop the case. But a former Federal Bureau of Investigation official who worked for Wray suggests this might all be politics. In the meantime, the FBI has opened an internal review into how the bureau handled the investigation into Flynn - something that caught renewed scrutiny after FBI notes showed the agency discussing whether it meant to "get him to lie".

Attorney General William Barr earlier this year appointed an outside USA attorney, Jeff Jensen, to review the Flynn case.

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The bureau noted that while it can evaluate whether any current employees' conduct in the Flynn case may warrant disciplinary actions, it added that it does not have the ability to order disciplinary actions for former employees. Two FBI agents had been detailed to Jensen's team, and officials said there had been discussions about an internal FBI review after he made his recommendation to drop the case.

"Everything about this case is unusual", said Stanford law Prof.

"The government's motion to dismiss the case against Michael Flynn, after he twice pled guilty. asks this Court to place its imprimatur on the Executive Branch's virtually unprecedented decision to dismiss a prosecution after the case has been won".

Sullivan also announced that he would permit outside parties to weigh in with their viewpoints and appointed a retired federal judge from New York, John Gleeson, to argue against the department's position.

The FBI said that in addition to its own internal review, it has cooperated and been transparent with multiple inquiries assigned by Barr, including lending its own agents to the Jensen probe.

"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 Federal Bureau of Investigation statement said.