[Ed. – The indispensable Andrew McCarthy addresses exactly the question I’ve had. What possible legitimate reason did the FBI have for “investigating” Flynn, as recently implied in news reporting? Especially after the reporting in January that explicitly said Flynn was NOT being investigated. Why did the story change? McCarthy’s analysis confirms for me that I didn’t miss anything. There has NOT been any legitimate reason cited or intimated for an investigation. And, as he suggests, that’s a serious problem.]
So since there was no impropriety in Flynn’s call to the Russian ambassador, why did the Bureau continue investigating Flynn? Why did FBI agents interrogate him?
According to press reports of other rogue intelligence leaks, the FBI was sicced on Flynn after Trump officials gave inaccurate public statements about his conversation with Kislyak, to wit: They said that it had not touched on the punitive actions President Obama took against Russia on the same day the conversation took place, when in fact there had been some discussion of that topic — which the FBI and Justice Department knew from the recording. Specifically, Flynn denied any discussion of these sanctions, unnamed Trump officials denied it to the Washington Post, Vice President Pence denied it in a CBS interview shortly before the inauguration, and finally White House spokesman Sean Spicer denied it again on January 23. According to the Times, it was the Spicer denial that triggered the FBI’s interrogation. It was as if the Bureau and Justice Department intentionally waited to pounce until Trump was in power — which meant that any misstatement could now be framed as a false representation by the sitting president.
But…misleading statements by presidential administrations, even egregious ones, are not grounds for FBI investigations. They are left to the political process to sort out, and we don’t want the FBI turned into a political weapon. …
Fear of blackmail? That is a theory purportedly advanced by former acting attorney general Sally Yates, an Obama political hack who was eventually fired for insubordination by Trump (who had foolishly retained her). The blackmail theory is almost too stupid to regurgitate. If you can follow this, the idea is that the Russians knew that Flynn withheld information about his Kislyak call from the Trump administration and was therefore vulnerable to extortion — i.e., the Russians could expose his concealment if he didn’t do their bidding. It should go without saying that blackmail works only if the compromising information is not in the possession of the aggrieved party. Here, the United States — i.e., the Trump administration itself — had a recording of the Flynn–Kislyak call, a fact that both Russia and Flynn (who is deeply versed in intelligence craft) had to know was highly likely.