Current lawyers for Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a former Trump adviser, have long been suspicious of the fact that Flynn’s former lawyers, who convinced him to plead guilty to lying to the FBI, came from the same law firm that employs Eric Holder, former attorney general to President Barack Obama.
This connection has now gained prominence with newly released documents that show Obama’s Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates had lunch with Holder’s former chief of staff, Gary Grindler, on Jan. 25, 2017—the day after the FBI’s interview of Flynn at the White House where he allegedly lied. The documents, Yates’s work calendars, were released due to a Freedom of Information request and posted online on Sept. 21 by Twitter user “Techno Fog.”
Grindler held a position of utmost trust in Holder’s circle. He was briefed on the infamous operation Fast and Furious in 2010 when he served as acting deputy attorney general and was later criticized for his handling of the matter by the Justice Department’s inspector general (pdf). But Grindler never laid any blame on Holder and denied having told him about the operation. Holder told the IG that he probably only learned about Fast and Furious in February 2011, after Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent him two letters about it. Grindler didn’t dispute it and quietly resigned the following year.
In 2015, after leaving office, Holder became a partner at the sprawling law firm Covington and Burling—the same firm Flynn hired shortly after the DOJ started to prod him in December 2016 about a lobbying job his then-defunct consultancy did for a Turkish businessman.
Documents released this year show that Obama and his vice president, Joe Biden, discussed the Flynn case with Yates and then-FBI Director James Comey in early 2017.
Handwritten notes by Peter Strzok, who at the time headed FBI counterintelligence operations, indicate that Biden brought up during the meeting the Logan Act. The obscure 18th century law has never been successfully prosecuted and is possibly unconstitutional, but the FBI still used it as a reason for expanding its investigation, which was already in the process of being closed before FBI leadership intervened, Strzok’s text messages from the time indicate.
Strzok was the one who opened the probe of Flynn and others associated with the Trump campaign for alleged collusion with Russia to sway the 2016 election. The Flynn probe went nowhere, however, and Comey acknowledged to Congress he was about to close it in late 2016.
In May of this year, the DOJ moved to drop the case against Flynn, saying documents revealed during an internal review indicated the FBI leaders used the Logan Act to keep the case alive and sent Strzok and another agent to interview Flynn solely to try to elicit a false statement from him.
Yates was briefed on the interview on Jan. 25, most likely during the 9 a.m. FBI briefing noted in the calendar. She then posed for a photo and went to the famed downtown Washington restaurant Centrolina for lunch with Grindler.
It’s not clear what was discussed during the lunch. Attempts to reach Grindler for comment were unsuccessful and Yates didn’t respond to a request for comment.
In January, Flynn asked the court to allow him to withdraw his plea, saying he only signed it because he was misled by the Covington lawyers, who withheld crucial information from him, and because the prosecutors threatened to indict his son.
Covington stated that Holder wasn’t involved in the Flynn case, but Flynn’s new lawyers, led by former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell, were unconvinced, demanding internal communications with Holder. They never received the documents.
“Covington has withheld from us a substantial number of relevant documents,” Powell commented in an email to The Epoch Times.
Flynn’s case dismissal is scheduled for a hearing on Sept. 29 before District Judge Emmet Sullivan. Flynn’s bid to have a higher court force Sullivan to accept the dismissal without further proceedings failed last month.
Correction: A previous version of the article attributed to Sally Yates an action performed by another person, former national security advisor to President Barack Obama Susan Rice. The Epoch Times regrets the error.