New evidence shows that the FBI had closed its criminal counterintelligence investigation of retired Gen. Mike Flynn, but top bureau official Peter Strzok ordered it to be reopened. The FBI had moved to close the case against the former national security adviser because there was an "absence of any derogatory information."
Internal Federal Bureau of Investigation documents were unsealed by the Department of Justice on Thursday, which revealed that Strzok intervened to continue the probe into Flynn.
The investigation into Flynn, codenamed "Crossfire Razor," was set to conclude Jan. 4, 2017, after the FBI deemed that "no derogatory information was identified in FBI holdings."
"Following the compilation of the above information, the [Crossfire Hurricane] team determined that [Flynn] was no longer a viable candidate as part of the larger CROSSFIRE HURRICANE umbrella case," the memorandum read. "A review of logical [redacted] databases did not yield any information on which to predicate further investigative efforts."
"The writer notes that since CROSSFIRE RAZOR was not specifically named as an agent of a foreign power by the original CROSSFIRE HURRICANE predicated reporting, the absence of any derogatory information or lead information from these logical sources reduced the number of investigative avenues and techniques to pursue," the FBI stated. "Per the direction of FBI management, CROSSFIRE RAZOR was not interviewed as part of the case closing procedure."
The FBI "initiated surveillance on a certain Russian subject" to determine if "there was contact between him and [Flynn]." The memo noted, "No contact between the two individuals was observed by the surveillance teams."
"The goal of the investigation was to determine whether [Flynn], associated with the Trump campaign, was directed and controlled by and/or coordinated activities with the Russian Federation in a manner which is a threat to the national security and/or possibly a violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act," the FBI memo stated. "Following the initiation of captioned case, the [Crossfire Hurricane] team conducted a check of logical databases for any derogatory information on [Flynn]."
"The FBI is closing this investigation," the memo concluded.
Despite the investigation being ready to close because they did not find any wrongdoing by Flynn, Strzok urged that the case stay open on the same day it was set to close. "Hey, if you haven't closed RAZOR, don't do so yet," Strzok wrote in a text message to the investigating agent at 2:14 p.m. on Jan. 4, 2017. "Pls keep it open for now."
"Razor still open," Strzok then texted to Lisa Page, the former assistant to ex-FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe. Strzok and Page reportedly had an extramarital affair. She responded, "phew."
Three weeks after Crossfire Razor was nearly unplugged, Flynn was interviewed by agents. Strzok texted Page that he had personally edited a document, likely FBI agent Joe Pientka's interview of Flynn conducted on Jan. 24, 2017.
"Lisa, you didn't see it before my edits that went into what I sent you," Strzok texted Page on Feb. 10, 2017. "I was 1) trying to completely re-write the thing so as to save [redacted] voice and 2) get it out to you for general review and comment in anticipation of needing it soon."
Thursday's revelations come one day after documents from Jan. 24, 2017, show that FBI agents may have set a perjury trap for Flynn, who at the time was the incoming national security adviser for then-President-elect Donald Trump.
"What is our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?" one of the notes read.
Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to Strzok and another agent during a White House interview in late 2017. Flynn's legal team has moved to withdraw his guilty plea.