Explosive, newly unsealed evidence documenting the FBI’s efforts to target national security adviser Michael Flynn — including a top official’s handwritten memo debating whether the FBI’s “goal” was “to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired” — calls into question whether Brandon Van Grack, a Justice Department prosecutor and former member of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Team, complied with a court order to produce favorable evidence to Flynn.
Since February 2018, Van Grack has been obligated to comply with D.C. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan’s standing order in the Flynn case to produce all evidence in the government’s possession “that is favorable to defendant and material either to defendant’s guilt or punishment.”
The order also requires the government to submit favorable defense evidence to the court, including possible “impeachment evidence” that could undermine witnesses, even if the government believes the evidence “not to be material.”
Van Grack has long informed Sullivan that the government’s so-called “Brady” obligations, referring to prosecutors’ duty to turn over exculpatory materials to defendants, have been met. In an October 2019 filing, Van Grack denied governmental misconduct and assured the court that the government “has complied, and will continue to comply, with its discovery and disclosure obligations, including those imposed pursuant to Brady and the Court’s Standing Order.”
In that same October 2019 motion, Van Grack elaborated on those claims, telling Sullivan that the government had not “affirmatively suppressed evidence” or hid Brady material. He denied that government was “aware of any information that would be favorable and material to [Flynn] at sentencing.”
Van Grack further dismissed arguments by Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, that “General Flynn was targeted and taken out of the Trump administration for concocted and political purposes” as “conspiracy theories.”
What Van Grack didn’t inform the court about – and didn’t provide to Flynn – was the newly unsealed January 4, 2017 “Closing Communication” from the FBI Washington Field Office, which recommended the FBI close its investigation of Flynn, as its exhaustive search through government databases “did not yield any information on which to predicate further investigative efforts.”
Van Grack also failed to provide evidence to Flynn’s attorneys that anti-Trump former FBI agent Peter Strzok then immediately intervened and instructed the FBI case manager handling the Flynn investigation to keep the probe open, followed by indicators that the bureau would seek to investigate Flynn for possible violations of an obscure 18th century law known as the Logan Act — which has never been utilized in a modern prosecution.
Another Strzok text mentions that the FBI’s “7th floor” – meaning FBI leadership – may have been involved in the decision to keep the Flynn case alive.
Instead, Van Grack characterized Flynn’s alleged false statements as critical to the FBI’s “legitimate and significant investigation into whether individuals associated with the campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump were coordinating with the Russian government in its activities to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.”
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