Then-Vice President Joe Biden personally brought up the potential use of the Logan Act against incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn in a conversation with President Barack Obama, FBI Director James Comey, and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, according to newly declassified notes believed to have been taken on Jan. 4, 2017, by FBI official Peter Strzok.
While it was previously known that the case against Flynn was discussed by Obama and top administration officials, Biden’s mention of the Logan Act has never been disclosed. The notes suggest that the vice president, contrary to his recent statement, directly took part in the investigation, especially considering the FBI’s apparent use of the Logan Act as a pretext to keep the investigation against Flynn open.
“According to Strzok’s notes, it appears that Vice President Biden personally raised the idea of the Logan Act. That became an admitted pretext to investigate General Flynn,” the attorneys for Flynn, a retired three-star Army general, wrote in a memo accompanying Strzok’s handwritten notes.
The Biden campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.
The Logan Act—a potentially unconstitutional law that never has been successfully prosecuted—makes it illegal for citizens to negotiate with foreign officials without the consent of the White House.
According to the testimonies by Comey and Yates, Obama personally brought up Flynn’s case on Jan. 5, 2017, at the White House. Biden personally requested to unmask Flynn’s identity in an intercepted communication a week later, on Jan. 12, 2017.
The notes, declassified by the FBI and released as part of the government’s lawsuit against Flynn, also show that Comey told Obama, Yates, and Biden that the intercepted calls between Flynn and then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak “appear legit.”
Transcripts of the calls that were recently declassified confirm Comey’s assessment at the time.
But Comey’s statement runs counter to the actions taken by the FBI on the same day. On Jan. 4, 2017, Strzok messaged an FBI agent about the status of Flynn’s case. The agent had already prepared the paperwork to close the case having found no derogatory information, but hadn’t yet formally filed it. Strzok told the agent to keep the case open on the instruction of FBI leadership.
Strzok also wrote down that Obama told the officials that “the right people” should be on the case.
The declassified document doesn’t show the date on which the notes were taken. Flynn’s attorneys suggest the notes were taken on Jan. 4, 2017, but don’t explain their reasoning for the assumption. If the notes were taken on that date, then Yates knew about the Flynn–Kislyak calls a day earlier than the date she told special counsel Robert Mueller that she learned of the calls for the first time at the White House, from Obama himself, on Jan. 5.
It’s still unclear who told Obama about the Flynn–Kislyak calls. Comey told the House Intelligence Committee that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had briefed Obama, Biden, and the senior White House team. Clapper told the same committee four months later that he didn’t brief Obama.
The release of Strzok’s notes occurred shortly after a federal appeals court in Washington ordered the judge in Flynn’s case to approve the government’s request to dismiss the charges against the former national security adviser. The Department of Justice moved to drop the charges in May after discovering a host of issues with the investigation that led to Flynn’s guilty plea.
The judge in the case didn’t rule on the motion, prompting the motion for an intervention from the appeals court.
The government’s case against Flynn unearthed a trove of documents exposing the involvement of top Obama administration officials, including the president, in the investigation of a member of the incoming administration on questionable legal grounds. Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, withdrew the plea earlier this year, explaining that he was pressured into the agreement by the special counsel.