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Mueller team FBI agent: Flynn prosecution had ‘get Trump’ vibe, collusion ‘dead end’

Mueller team FBI agent: Flynn prosecution had ‘get Trump’ vibe, collusion ‘dead end’

An FBI official who worked on former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election believed some investigators had a “get Trump” attitude and that the probe was a “dead end,” according to a report.

FBI agent William Barnett slammed the Trump-Russia collusion inquiry as “opaque” and described it as having little detail concerning specific of criminal events during an interview last week at the Justice Department, according to Fox News.

The network obtained the 302, an FBI interview memo done as part of an investigation, in which Barnett described himself to US Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri Jeffrey Jensen as taking serious issue with the “predication” of the investigation into then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Barnett told Jensen that he believed the “predication” into Flynn’s probe was “not great” because it “was not clear” what the “persons opening the case wanted to ‘look for or at.’”

Six weeks into the investigation, Barnett was “still unsure of the basis of the investigation concerning Russia and the Trump campaign working together, without a specific criminal allegation.”

The FBI agent told investigators that he then began asking others in the bureau what “the end game” was in the Flynn investigation.

After suggesting that they interview the incoming national security adviser “and the case be closed unless derogatory information was obtained,” he claimed was “cautioned against” doing so over concerns that it would “alert Flynn as to the investigation.”

Barnett disagreed, according to the 302, telling investigators he believed Flynn’s position as an incoming Trump administration official “offered an opportunity for the FBI to conduct the interview without alerting any suspicion and Flynn would see such an interview as being standard procedure.”

Barnett’s requests to interview the soon-to-be national security adviser were denied, and the investigation was described as “top down,” meaning that “direction concerning the investigation was coming from senior officials.”

The FBI agent believed that then-deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe was the one running the show.

While he believed that Flynn was an “outlier,” in the investigation, Barnett said he did believe there were grounds to probe “the other three subjects in Crossfire Hurricane.”

Despite his concerns that the investigation was “problematic and could result in an inspector general investigation,” he continued the work he was ordered to do.

Robert Mueller
Robert MuellerCarolyn Kaster/AP

“Barnett still did not see any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Barnett was willing to follow any instructions being given by the deputy director as long as it was not a violation of the law,” the interview memo said.

According to Barnett, the appointment of a special counsel to investigate links between the Trump campaign and Russia changed “everything.”

After joining the Mueller investigation, Barnett described an “upside down” situation “with attorneys drafting search warrants and getting agents to simply act as affiants.”

He then described what he viewed as a “get Trump” attitude by some in the office, which he said manifested itself in two ways.

The first, he said, was that “incidents involving Trump were taken in the most negative manner, or in some cases misinterpreted.” The second was how members of Mueller’s top team appeared to try to establish “the conviction there was ‘something criminal there’ and a competition as to which attorney was going to find it.”

Barnett’s view is not shared amongst all those who worked under Mueller’s team.

Former Justice Department official Andrew Weissmann, who has since endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, said that the former special counsel “absolutely” let the American people down by not going harder on President Trump.

Speaking to The Atlantic earlier this week, the DOJ official said of the Mueller team’s work, “I wouldn’t phrase it as just Mueller. I would say ‘the office.’ There are a lot of things we did well, and a lot of things we could have done better, to be diplomatic about it.”

Published at Fri, 25 Sep 2020 15:15:14 +0000