Former South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy found a newly released email about Michael Flynn written by outgoing National Security Advisor Susan Rice on President Donald Trump’s Inauguration Day “bizarre.”
In the Jan. 20, 2017, email, Rice wrote about a conversation in the Oval Office involving President Barack Obama, FBI Director James Comey, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, and Vice President Joe Biden about investigating Flynn, the incoming national security advisor, that had taken place two weeks earlier, on Jan. 5.
Gowdy was asked Tuesday on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” which stuck out to him most about the email.
“Just how bizarre it is,” the former federal prosecutor answered. “I mean, it’s two weeks late, so it can’t be a present sense recalled. It can’t be a contemporaneous recollection of something that happened: It took her two weeks.”
“It’s the most bizarre thing I’ve read,” Gowdy reiterated. “It is, ‘Dear diary, President Obama is perfect and Jim Comey says he’s done everything by the book.’
“Well, I’d like to know what book he’s following. Remember, they’re about to close the counterintelligence investigation. It can’t possibly be a criminal investigation, ’cause, remember, Sally Yates doesn’t know anything about it. She’s the top law enforcement official in the country, and this is news to her.”
Many, including former President George W. Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen, have noted it is not unusual for incoming administration officials to be in communication with representatives from other countries.
“Yates had no idea what the president was talking about but figured it out based on the conversation. Yates recalled Comey mentioning the Logan Act, but can’t recall if he specified there was an ‘investigation.’ Comey did not talk about prosecution in the meeting,” a document read.
The January 5, 2017 meeting in which Sally Yates said she learned of Flynn-Kislyak call from President Obama himself–Susan Rice and VP Joe Biden were in that meeting, too, per Rice’s famous memo-to-self. pic.twitter.com/6Wpdvkte0y
— Byron York (@ByronYork) May 7, 2020
Gowdy wondered what book Comey was following as he proceeded against Flynn.
“Remember, he said he did things to Flynn that he never would have done to the other administrations. So I’d like to know what the name of the d— book that they’re following is because it’s not the FBI manual,” Gowdy said Tuesday.
In a December 2018 interview with MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, Comey admitted that he did not follow protocol when he sent FBI agents to the White House to interview Flynn on Jan. 24, 2017, just days after Trump took office.
It is “something I probably wouldn’t have done, or maybe gotten away with, in a more organized … administration,” Comey said.
“If the FBI wanted to send agents into the White House itself to interview a senior official, you would work through the White House counsel, there would be discussions and approvals, and it would be there,” he said. “And I thought, ‘It’s early enough, let’s just send a couple of guys over.’”
In a court filing earlier this month seeking to dismiss criminal charges against Flynn, the Justice Department recounted that Yates was “flabbergasted” and “dumbfounded” at the FBI’s decision to question the national security advisor given that it “should have been coordinated with DOJ.”
Unsealed internal FBI documents showed that a top bureau official had questioned if the “goal” in interviewing Flynn was “to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired.”
Mollie Hemingway, a senior editor at The Federalist, argued the FBI sought to deceive Flynn about the purpose of its interview with him by leaking false information to the media.
The FBI meeting with the new national security advisor came a day after The Washington Post reported “Flynn is not the active target of an investigation” into potential Russian collusion with the Trump campaign in 2016, according to unnamed “U.S. officials.”
“That wasn’t true,” Hemingway told Fox News host Mark Levin over the weekend, but it was meant to give Flynn a false sense of assurance.
Rice defended her Jan. 20, 2017, email, saying through a representative that she “welcomed” its release.
Rice contended the email “confirmed what she and others have indicated all along: that the Obama administration had legitimate counter-intelligence concerns about National Security Advisor-designate Flynn’s communications with Russia.”
— Erin Pelton (@erin_pelton) May 19, 2020
“In the interest of transparency, Ambassador Rice again calls upon the Director of National Intelligence to release the transcripts of all Kislyak-Flynn calls,” the statement read.
“The American people deserve the full transcripts so they can judge for themselves Michael Flynn’s conduct.”
Gowdy said while it is unclear whether Flynn committed a crime, someone in the Obama administration did by leaking details of his calls with Kislyak to the media.
“My question for the FBI is we know the lengths to which you meant to interview Michael Flynn, that’s well documented. How is your leak investigation going? It’s been almost four years,” Gowdy said.
“We know Flynn was the victim of a crime,” he continued. “We ain’t sure he committed one, but we know he’s the victim of one. How is that investigation going?”