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Barr on dismissing Flynn case: What former National Security Adviser told FBI was 'not a crime'

With the release of new information in recent weeks, the case against Flynn unravelled

Attorney General William P. Barr
Attorney General William P. Barr
(Barcroft Media / Getty Images)
Updated: May 8, 2020 - 10:30am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Attorney General William Barr says the Justice Department moved Thursday to drop its case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn because what he told or didn’t tell FBI agents was “not a crime.”

Flynn admitted to lying to FBI agents as part of a plea agreement in connection with the federal government’s probe into whether anybody on the 2016 Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russia to influence the outcome of the race.

In a CBS News interview after the department asked a federal court to dismiss its case, Barr said that when the FBI interviewed Flynn in January 2017 they already knew he had not colluded with Russia.

“The Department of Justice is not persuaded that this was material to any legitimate counterintelligence investigation,” Barr said. "So it was not a crime." 

Read the full transcript of the interview

He also restated that he returned to public service last year to try to get to the bottom of the Russia collusion investigation, which many consider to have been politically motivated. 

“I was concerned people were feeling there were two standards of justice in this country,” he said. “I wanted to make sure that we restore confidence in the system. There's only one standard of justice.”

He also acknowledged that the decision to ask that the case be dismissed happened swiftly over the course of the past few weeks, based on recently released information. 

However, the efforts to bring the information to public light was the result of an internal probe starting in January and led by a veteran federal prosecutor.

“I asked a very seasoned U.S. attorney, who had spent 10 years as an FBI agent and 10 years as a career prosecutor, Jeff Jensen, from St. Louis, to come in and take a fresh look at this whole case,” Barr told CBS. “And he found some additional material. And last week, he came in and briefed me and made a recommendation that we dismiss the case, which I fully agreed with, as did the U.S. attorney in D.C. So we've moved to dismiss the case."