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On Flynn case: Grassley checks Obama, says FBI abused power in ways Founders, Framers 'feared most'

The Senate Finance Committee chairman says Americans must 'guard against the tyranny' of the feds

Updated: May 26, 2020 - 6:51pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook


GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley is taking on the media, the Justice Department and even President Obama over the federal government's handling of the Michael Flynn case.

We’ve “seen a lot of denial from some quarters in the media about the information that’s been released,” Grassley, the Senate Finance Committee Chairman, said Monday in a floor speech.

Grassley spoke in the aftermath of a surprising recent turn of events in which newly declassified information led Flynn to withdraw a guilty plea in the federal government's Russia collusion case, which was followed last week by Attorney General William Barr saying the Justice Department has moved to drop the case. 

Among the revelations was that FBI agents, in the early days of the Trump administration, went beyond the scope of federal government's case to interview the then-White House national security adviser. Flynn later, in a plea agreement, pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents.

Grassley, in the speech, commended Barr and acting Office of the Director of National Intelligence acting Director Richard Grenell for making public information that had been carefully guarded for upwards of two years.

The senator also questioned purported comments made last week by President Obama cautioning that the rule of law may be at risk following the Justice Department's recommendation to drop the case against Flynn, a retired lieutenant Army general.

“I believe the opposite is true," he said. "The rule of law is at risk if the federal government can get away with violating the constitution to do what they did to Lt. Gen. Flynn.”

Grassley then asked why the former president would choose to comment on the dropping of the case against Flynn, but not the significant evidence that government directors under his control lied and manipulated processes at every turn of the investigation into him.

“I’ve heard no comment from Mr. Obama about independent inspector general findings that Andrew McCabe lied under oath to federal investigators multiple times," said Grassley, referring to the former FBI deputy director.

"Or about how DOJ prosecutors falsely told the court that they had produced all Brady material to Flynn. Or when the federal government surveilled an American citizen connected to the Trump campaign without probable cause and based on intelligence the FBI knew was questionable at best,” Grassley continued.

Grassley hinted that the evidence released last week is so significant in its implications of top-tier government corruption that, “it’s time we asked: what did Obama and Biden know and when did they know it?”

For the duration of his remarks, Grassley highlights some of the governmental mismanagement of the Flynn and Russia investigations. He draws a comprehensive narrative of the FBI’s misdeeds as they relate to the continued probing and attempted destruction of a three star general, and apparent manipulation of materials relevant to the investigation.

“Under (former FBI Director James) Comey’s leadership, the FBI abused governmental power in ways the Founders and Framers feared most. The Russia investigation is a textbook example of what not to do,” he said. “At every step of the investigation, the government sought evidence to advance it, never got the evidence they needed, and advanced the investigation anyway.”

Grassley also argued the media has failed to accurately cover the framing for special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, the basis of which was a conversation between President Trump and Comey about wrapping up the investigation into Flynn.