FBI Director Orders Internal Review of Michael Flynn Investigation for Potential Misconduct

The FBI will investigate whether there was any misconduct in the probe of President Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

"FBI Director Christopher Wray today ordered the Bureau's Inspection Division to conduct an after-action review of the Michael Flynn investigation," the bureau said in a statement on Friday. Newsweek reached out to the FBI for additional comment on the review but did not receive a response before publication.

"Although the FBI does not have the prosecutorial authority to bring a criminal case, the Inspection Division can and will evaluate whether any current onboard employees engaged in actions that might warrant disciplinary measures," the bureau said.

Newsweek also reached out to Flynn's legal team for comment on Wray's order for the review and was directed to attorney Sidney Powell's reaction on Twitter. Powell has repeatedly retweeted social media posts calling for Wray to be removed from the FBI.

Newsweek subscription offers >

"WOW? And how is he going to investigate himself? And how could anyone trust it?" she wrote on Friday.

The investigation is the latest development in Flynn's two-year legal saga, which began after he pleaded guilty twice to lying to federal prosecutors about his communications with Russia before President Donald Trump's inauguration in 2017.

Earlier this month, the Justice Department abruptly moved to drop the charges against Flynn based on a review of the case ordered by Attorney General William Barr. The internal review found that Flynn's false statements weren't "material" to the Russia probe and therefore weren't a crime.

FBI orders internal review of Flynn investigation
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn leaves a Washington, D.C., courthouse following a sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court on December 18, 2018. FBI Director Christopher Wray has ordered an internal review into possible misconduct in the investigation of Flynn. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Newsweek subscription offers >

The move immediately launched a contentious debate in the intelligence community. Former federal prosecutors slammed the decision, arguing it was inappropriate for Barr to step into the case. Trump and his allies, however, saw it as a solution to the improper prosecution of the former national security adviser.

Their criticism of Flynn's prosecution was only heightened this month when it was revealed that dozens of Barack Obama officials had been involved in the "unmasking" of Flynn's name from intelligence reports. Trump has called this the "greatest political crime in the history of our country" and has dubbed the alleged plot "Obamagate."

But the Justice Department's request to drop the charges is currently in limbo. The request is in the hands of U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who has signaled that he won't be letting the issue go so quickly, as he's invited outside parties to submit briefs to the court on the matter.

Sullivan has also appointed former federal judge John Gleeson to present arguments opposing the agency's motion to dismiss the case and to advise him on whether Flynn should be held in contempt of court for perjury.

Earlier this week, Flynn's attorneys moved to remove Sullivan from the case and have the charges dropped immediately. On Thursday, a panel gave Judge Sullivan 10 days to respond to the petition from Flynn's team.

"An innocent man has been the target of a vendetta by politically motivated officials at the highest level of the FBI," Flynn's lawyers wrote in their request. "The egregious Government misconduct, and the three-year abuse of General Flynn and his family, cry out for ending this ordeal immediately and permanently."

Update: This story has been updated to include a response from Michael Flynn's attorney Sidney Powell.

FBI Director Orders Internal Review of Michael Flynn Investigation for Potential Misconduct | U.S.