Did the FBI Retaliate Against Michael Flynn by Launching Russia Probe?



The FBI launched a criminal probe against former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn two years after the retired Army general roiled the bureau’s leadership by intervening on behalf of a decorated counterterrorism agent who accused now-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and other top officials of sexual discrimination, according to documents and interviews.

The FBI sought to block Flynn’s support for the agent, asking a federal administrative law judge in May 2014 to keep Flynn and others from becoming a witness in her Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) case, memos obtained by Circa show. Two years later, the FBI opened its inquiry of Flynn.

The EEOC case, which is still pending, was serious enough to require McCabe to submit to a sworn statement to investigators, the documents show.

The deputy director’s testimony provided some of the strongest evidence in the case of possible retaliation, because he admitted the FBI opened an internal investigation into Gritz’s personal conduct after learning the agent “had filed or intended to file” a sex discrimination complaint against her supervisors.

McCabe eventually became the bureau’s No. 2 executive and emerged as a central player in the FBI’s Russia election tampering investigation, putting him in a position to impact the criminal inquiry against Flynn.

Three FBI employees told Circa they personally witnessed McCabe make disparaging remarks about Flynn before and during the time the retired Army general emerged as a figure in the Russia case.

The bureau employees, who spoke only on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said they did not know the reason for McCabe’s displeasure with Flynn, but that it made them uncomfortable as the Russia probe began to unfold and pressure built to investigate Flynn. One employee even consulted a private lawyer.

“As far as the troops in the field, the vast-majority were disgusted with the Russia decision, but that was McCabe driving the result that eventually led [former FBI Director James] Comey to make the decision,” said a senior federal law enforcement official, with direct knowledge of the investigation.

One of the FBI’s most famous whistleblowers says McCabe has an ethical obligation to recuse himself in the Flynn probe to avoid the appearance of retribution or bias.

“I don't think they have any choice. He has to step aside,” said Frederic Whitehurst, who as an FBI special agent and forensic chemist blew the whistle on misdeeds inside the FBI crime lab two decades ago and prompted widespread reforms.

“If he stays involved, the case against Flynn has no credibility,” explained Whitehurst, now often called as an expert witness in court cases. “If there are criminal charges that could go against Flynn, that's got to go to court. And those agents at some point may be called before a grand jury and anything he (McCabe) said to them about Flynn could be used as exonerating information or evidence of misconduct.”

Read More Here: http://circa.com/politics/accountability/did-the-fbi-retaliate-against-michael-flynn-by-launching-russia-probe

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