Allies of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, up to and including President Trump, have pointed to a handwritten February 2017 note by Bill Priestap, then the FBI’s counterterrorism director, to argue that FBI agents set out to trick Flynn into lying about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Trump’s inauguration. Attorney General William Barr said FBI agents intended to “lay a perjury trap.” Acting U.S. Attorney Timothy Shea, Barr’s long time adviser, cited Priestap’s memo when petitioning U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to drop Flynn’s case, despite a guilty plea Flynn affirmed before seeking to withdraw.
Justice Department officials involved in the Flynn case interviewed Priestap last week, two days before Shea signed the extraordinary motion to dismiss the case, The New York Times reports. Priestap said their interpretation of his memo — and the one pushed by Flynn’s lawyers and Fox News personalities — was wrong. “He said that FBI officials were trying to do the right thing in questioning Mr. Flynn and that he knew of no effort to set him up