FBI agent: Never was evidence of Russia collusion but Mueller team had 'get Trump' goal
Agent says Flynn case should have been shut down but FBI kept it open without legal grounds.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
An FBI agent who played a lead role investigating Michael Flynn told the Justice Department there was never evidence of wrongdoing by the retired general or Russian collusion by President Trump, but the probe was kept open by Special Counsel Robert Mueller because his team had a "get Trump" goal, according to an explosive interview released Friday.
Agent William Barnett's interview with Justice Department prosecutors earlier this month provided a bombshell claim that both FBI superiors under agency Director James Comey and Mueller's team exhibited bias in their pursuit of Trump that upended the normal investigative decisions, tactics and commitment to pursue evidence neutrally.
The interview emerged just one day after the Justice Department released text messages showing FBI analysts bought liability insurance in January 2017 because they feared they could be sued for misconduct committed during the Russia probe.
"BARNETT thought that the TRUMP campaign may have been aware the Russians were attempting to impact the election but that was far different from the TRUMP campaign and the Russians having a deal and/or working together quid pro quo,” the report of his Sept. 17 interview reads.
“BARNETT" and others joked about how the investigation into collusion could be made into a game, which they referred to as "Collusion Clue."
In the hypothetical game, investigators were able to choose any character conducting any activity in any location and pair this individual with another character and interpret it as evidence of collusion.
Barnett added: "With respect to Flynn’s [phone call] with the Russian ambassador in December 2016 BARNETT did not believe Flynn was being directed by TRUMP. BARNETT did not believe FLYNN had any additional information to provide SCO. Barnett believed the prosecution of Flynn by SCO was used as a means to 'get TRUMP.' "
You can read the document here:
Barnett described how the top levels of the FBI, including now-fired Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, suddenly took over the investigation after Trump won the November 2016 election and continued to keep the case going even though there was "little detail concerning specific evidence of criminal events."
“BARNETT still did not see any evidence of collusion between the TRUMP campaign and the Russian government,” the interview report stated. “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 agent added that he thought the investigation was built on "supposition on supposition," especially the predicate to investigate Flynn, which he described as “not great" and "not clear."
Like the analysts who allegedly bought liability insurance, Barnett said he had reservations that the FBI's conduct of the case might boomerang. Specifically, he feared, the pursuit of Trump and Flynn was “problematic and could result in an inspector general investigation."