Mueller releases memo summarizing FBI’s interview with Michael Flynn

Special counsel Robert Mueller has released a January 2017 FBI memo detailing the interview by agent Peter Strzok and another FBI agent with President Donald Trump's then-national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

In the interview described in the memo, Flynn lied about his contact with then-Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak.

The memo outlines Flynn describing his conversations with Kislyak, offering at times more benign descriptions of the talks than the special counsel ultimately outlined.

The FBI agents, at one point, remind Flynn about a conversation he had with the Russian ambassador that he had not recounted to that point.

"Yes, good reminder," Flynn told the agents. He proceeded to describe calls made to countries regarding a UN vote on Israeli settlements. He listed countries that included "maybe Russia/KISLYAK," the agent wrote.

The memo shows how Flynn downplayed the approach he had taken in his discussions with Kislyak -- even telling the agents outright that, "no" he had not sought to influence Russia's vote on a United Nations Security Council vote about Israeli settlements.

But investigators knew, according to Flynn's charging documents filed last year, that he had asked for Russia to vote against or delay the resolution.

Trump has alleged the FBI determined on the day of the interview that Flynn hadn't lied. The memo that was released Monday does not say the FBI agents made any determinations at that time. instead, it only outlines what he said in a straightforward manner.

The subsequent criminal complaint in December 2017 outlined how Flynn's retelling of the conversations was not true.

Another memo released by Mueller's office last week described how the FBI knew the facts of Flynn's conversations with Kislyak before agents approached Flynn in the West Wing four days into the new administration.

A separate memo filed with the court last week summarized an interview eight months after Flynn's interview. In that memo, Strzok says that both agents "had the impression at the time that Flynn was not lying or did not think he was lying."

The Justice Department charged Flynn with lying to investigators in late December 2017, when he pleaded guilty to the crime.

Flynn's second lie, as described in the FBI memo, came in response to the agents asking him about the US' expulsion of Russian diplomats and closing Russian properties following the Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The agents asked Flynn if he had encouraged Kislyak not to retaliate.

"Flynn responded, 'Not really. I don't remember.' It wasn't, 'Don't do anything,' " the memo said.

But, the FBI knew that Flynn had asked Russia not to escalate its response to the US.

That call with Russia came among a series of phone calls between Flynn and Trump officials, including some who were at Mar-a-Lago along with President-elect Trump, that were revealed in Flynn's charging document and not described in the separate January 2017 FBI memo. The FBI interview summary, based on what was publicly released Monday, does not include what Flynn said about the Mar-a-Lago calls.

Flynn made the calls from the Dominican Republic, where he was vacationing with his wife. Kislyak had texted Flynn on December 28, 2016, asking him to call, which set off the series of calls in the following days.

The FBI memo also describes in detail Flynn's interactions with Russian officials, trips to the country and the relationship he developed with Kislyak through when he became national security adviser. Those interactions date back to 2013, when he was the first Defense Intelligence Agency director to visit the Russian military intelligence headquarters. He made another visit years later.

Twice in late 2016, Flynn called Kislyak to express condolences after the assassination of a Russian ambassador in Turkey and the crash of a Russian military plane.

"Flynn does not know if Putin and Trump will get along, but it is Flynn's job to figure out paths to work with Russia to fight terrorism," the FBI memo said.

Flynn will be sentenced tomorrow in DC federal court.

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