Former FBI investigator Peter Strzok, who was fired from the agency after revelations of text messages critical of President Donald Trump were uncovered, intervened to keep it from closing an investigation into Trump’s incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn, government documents unsealed Thursday say.
Strzok texted a colleague at the FBI on Jan. 4, 2017, to tell them not to close its probe into Flynn, which the agency had codenamed “Crossfire RAZOR.”
“Hey, if you haven’t closed RAZOR yet, don’t do so yet,” Strzok texted the colleague, whose name is redacted in the documents.
The texts do not indicate why Strzok, who led the investigation into Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails and was fired for texts he sent while working on Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia, wanted to keep the investigation active.
The text message followed a memo from the Washington Field Office, which indicated it had no reason to continue the probe.
“The FBI is closing this investigation,” the memo read. “If new information is identified or reported to the FBI regarding the activities of CROSSFIRE RAZOR, the FBI will consider reopening the investigation if warranted.”
The memo also stated that a review of intelligence databases “did not yield any information” to warrant continuing the investigation.
Flynn, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, was being investigated to determine if was wittingly or unwittingly working on behalf of the Russian government.
Then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe arranged the interview with Flynn for Jan. 24, 2017, and dispatched Strzok and another agent to interview with the general about phone calls he had with then-Russian Amabassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak in December 2016, the Daily Caller reported.
The document release in the Flynn case follows a previous one on Wednesday which included a handwritten note, reportedly written by Strzok’s boss, the FBI’s then-Director for Counterintelligence Bill Priestap.
That addressed how to question Flynn.
“What’s our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?” the note reads. “If we get him to admit to breaking the Logan Act, give facts to DOJ & have them decide. Or, if he initially lies, then we present him [redacted] & he admits it, document for DOJ, & let them decide how to address it.”
The latest batch of documents comes as Flynn is trying to get a federal judge to allow him to withdraw his guilty plea for lying to the FBI.
“These new documents further undermine the view of both the legitimacy and motivations of those investigations under former FBI director James Comey,” George Washington law professor Jonathan Turley wrote in an op-ed piece for ‘The Hill.’
“For all of those who have long seen a concerted effort within the Justice Department to target the Trump administration, the fragments will read like a Dead Sea Scrolls version of a ‘deep state’ conspiracy.”
Flynn pleaded guilty on Dec. 1, 2017, to lying during the interview about speaking to Kislyak about sanctions against Russia.
However, in a Jan. 29 court filing, he said he pleaded guilty to protect prosecutors from going after his son and denied lying in the FBI interview.