Effectively, there’s tons occurring in Flynn World.The president’s former national-security advisor, Michael Flynn, is clearly elated that, on Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit granted his petition for a writ of mandamus — i.e., it instructed District Choose Emmet Sullivan to grant the Justice Division’s movement to dismiss the case towards him. I’ve a column in regards to the ruling up on the homepage.As reported by NR’s Zachary Evans, furthermore, Flynn protection lawyer Sidney Powell has filed an intriguing complement the protection’s concurrence within the Justice Division’s dismissal movement. The complement, additionally filed on Wednesday, contains notes stated to have been handwritten by Peter Strzok, then a high FBI counterintelligence agent (and, after all, later fired for sundry misconduct).It’s being broadly reported that the notes concern a now notorious White Home assembly about Flynn that came about on January 5, 2017. (I started writing about that assembly as quickly as we realized about it in early 2018, and it’s central to my guide in regards to the Trump–Russia investigation, Ball of Collusion). The assembly included the highest political and law-enforcement management of the Obama administration — President Obama, Vice President Biden, national-security advisor Susan Rice, deputy legal professional common Sally Yates, and FBI director James Comey — however the insistence of Obama apologists that the administration didn’t allow legislation enforcement to be influenced by politics. (I’d counter that mixing the 2 was the administration’s M-O).I believe the Strzok notes are in regards to the January 5 assembly, too. There may be, nonetheless, confusion on this level.The quick complement Ms. Powell filed states that Strzok’s notes are “believed to be of January 4, 2017” (emphasis added). Now, Powell obtained these notes from the Justice Division as a part of its persevering with evaluation of the Flynn case (which was prosecuted by particular counsel Robert Mueller’s workers). Clearly, she is aware about extra details about the case than we’re, and we have no idea what, if something, DOJ instructed her in regards to the provenance of the notes. That stated, I’m skeptical in regards to the January Four courting.If it’s proper, that will imply there have been two conferences involving the identical 5 individuals concerning the identical material on consecutive days. It appears extremely unlikely to me that President Obama and Vice President Biden, together with Rice, met with Comey and Yates on each January Four and 5. Plus, in reference to its movement to dismiss Flynn case, the federal government has beforehand disclosed FBI interviews of former deputy AG Yates and Mary McCord, previously the chief of DOJ’s Nationwide Safety Division. Each of them indicated that Yates didn’t know till January 5 that the FBI had intercepted conversations between Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. That was a considerably embarrassing admission for them to make, so I don’t assume there’s any motive to doubt it. (Yates ought to have been briefed earlier than the White Home assembly by McCord, who had been alerted by the FBI’s then-deputy director, Andrew McCabe, on January 3. Maybe McCord didn’t understand Yates was going to the White Home on the morning of January 5; she had scheduled a briefing for Yates that afternoon. In consequence, Yates first realized in regards to the Flynn–Kislyak calls when Comey and Obama mentioned them in her presence on the White Home assembly.)One other peculiar factor: Now we have no foundation to imagine Strzok was current on the January 5 White Home pow-wow — a minimum of the follow-on assembly involving the 5 top-tier officers, a number of rungs above Strzok.On that rating, be aware that there have been actually two conferences on January 5. The primary was for the chiefs of 4 intelligence businesses — FBI, CIA, NSA, and ODNI — to transient the president (presumably, alongside together with his Veep and nationwide safety advisor) on their report assessing Russia’s interference within the 2020 election. The second was the follow-on assembly, involving solely Obama, Biden, Rice, Yates, and Comey. There have been a number of extra individuals in attendance on the first January 5 assembly. Strzok was deeply concerned within the evaluation report. I don’t know the way a lot workers the intel chiefs introduced alongside to make their presentation to Obama, so I suppose it’s attainable Strzok was there, however I’ve by no means heard that earlier than. Plus, Strzok’s notes seem to check with the follow-on assembly, involving solely the 5 highest rating officers.It’s extra doubtless, then, that Strzok’s notes have been taken when somebody later briefed him in regards to the White Home assembly that Strzok didn’t attend. I’m hypothesizing right here, after all, but when I’m proper, we must always keep in mind that the notes would replicate, at finest, a second-hand account. That may not make them inaccurate, essentially, nevertheless it’s price taking into consideration.The distinction between January Four and 5 is important, and never simply because it’s unlikely that there have been two conferences involving the 5 main gamers. January Four is the date of the “closing memo” the FBI had accomplished to close down its case on Flynn as a result of lack of proof that he was a clandestine agent of Russia.Along with that memo, the Justice Division beforehand disclosed to Powell vital texts from that day. On the afternoon of January 4, Strzok texted the Flynn case agent (believed to be Joe Pientka, although the title is redacted within the disclosure) and was relieved to study that the Flynn case (“Crossfire Razor”) had not but been formally closed within the bureau’s recordsdata, although practically all of the steps vital to take action (together with getting Comey’s approval) had been taken.Strzok promptly reported that the case remained open to Lisa Web page, McCabe’s counsel (and Strzok’s paramour). She replied, “phew . . . . However yeah, that’s superb that he’s nonetheless open. Good I suppose.” Strzok’s agreed: “Yeah, our utter incompetence really helps us.Strzok subsequently instructed Pientka, “seventh flooring concerned” — which means the FBI’s high hierarchy, Comey and McCabe. The problem on the time was that the bureau “want[ed] to resolve to what to do with” Flynn with respect to “the [redacted].” I believe what’s redacted is a reference to the Flynn–Kislyak communications the FBI had intercepted. Pientka stated, “I heard that could be the case yesterday [i.e., January 3]. Did DD [i.e., Deputy Director McCabe] ship that materials over?” As famous above, we all know McCabe had develop into conscious of the Flynn–Kislyak calls on January Three as a result of that’s when he knowledgeable DOJ’s McCord about them.To recap: Within the January Four texts, Strzok noticed that the FBI’s brass was attempting to determine what to do in regards to the new Flynn data (i.e., the intercepted Kislyak calls) and expressing reduction that the case was nonetheless open — i.e., the bureau wouldn’t must provide you with a motive to both reopen the case or begin a brand new case, neither of which may have been justified by the non-incriminatory substance of Flynn’s discussions with the Russian ambassador. The newly revealed notes attributed to Strzok include no reference to Obama, the Justice Division, or any White Home assembly. It’s doubtless, due to this fact, that on January 4, Strzok and others on the FBI have been making ready for Comey’s scheduled briefing of Obama the next morning. It’s inconceivable that Obama, Biden, Rice, Yates, and Comey had a gathering on January 4, after which met once more on January 5.Now, onto what Strzok’s notes really say. If I’m proper that they replicate what he was instructed in regards to the January 5 assembly, which he didn’t attend, they don’t inform us a lot that we didn’t already know.The handwritten notes seem in our Zachary Evans’s report, linked above. What follows is a rendering of what Strzok’s chicken-scratch says, based mostly on my dialogue with others educated in regards to the case and my very own perusal. The notes check with individuals by initials, so let me first interpret these: “NSA” is Nationwide Safety Advisor Rice; “D” is Director Comey; “DAG” is Deputy Legal professional Common Yates; “VP” is Vice President Biden; and “P” is President Obama. There may be additionally a reference that appears like “Apple” — I’m not satisfied that “Apple” is what it says, nor do I do know to whom or what it refers. The place I’ve added explanatory observations, my initials — “ACM” seem within the brackets.Here’s what the notes say:> NSA-D-DAG: Flynn cuts. Different nations [ACM: I’m not confident in “countries”]> > D-DAG: Lean ahead on except [ACM: all of it is hard to make out, and I’m not confident in “unless”]> > VP: “Logan Act”> > P: These are uncommon occasions> > VP: I’ve been [ACM: there’s a scratch out] on the intel committee for ten years and I by no means> > P: Ensure you take a look at issues and have the correct individuals on it [ACM: “over” instead of “at” has also been suggested to me, but it looks like “at”.]> > P: Is there something I shouldn’t be telling transition group?> > D: Flynn -> Kislyak calls however seem legit> > Apple — Completely happy New 12 months. Yeah proper.Not very enlightening. “Flynn cuts” refers to summaries of communications intercepted beneath FISA. The notes recommend that Biden might have been a extra energetic participant within the dialogue than beforehand revealed. However that shouldn’t shock anybody: The previous vice chairman is a garrulous kind. In any occasion, his reference to the Logan Act, in quotes, may effectively imply that he was repeating one thing another person had already stated relatively than making a suggestion on his personal. (McCord’s interview indicated that the absurd notion of prosecuting Flynn beneath the Logan Act might have originated within the ODNI, and it could have been developed in discussions between the ODNI and FBI. The Justice Division seems to have been skeptical about it, a minimum of internally.)I do assume that there’s significance in Strzok’s notation of Comey acknowledging that the Flynn–Kislyak calls appeared professional. Strzok was a high-ranking FBI official who (a) had contact with Comey, (b) was in common communication with McCabe’s workplace, and (c) labored carefully with different bureau individuals who had common entry to Comey and McCabe. In consequence, he was able to know Comey’s (and the FBI’s) tackle the Flynn–Kislyak calls. Moreover, as I noticed above, the FBI was very relieved that the Flynn case had not been closed of their submitting system. That solely is smart in the event that they instantly wished to proceed the investigation regardless of the dearth of a sound motive for doing so. If the bureau had believed the Flynn–Kislyak calls have been incriminating, the brokers wouldn’t have cared whether or not the case had been formally closed as a result of they’d know they’d well-founded causes to reopen it.That stated, it isn’t a revelation that Comey knew there was nothing illegitimate in regards to the incoming nationwide safety advisor’s discussions with the Russian ambassador. We already knew, from New York Occasions reporting, that the FBI had instructed “Obama advisers” that there was no proof of a corrupt quid professional quo within the Flynn–Kislyak calls. And we already knew from Susan Rice’s January 20, 2017, “Notice to File” e mail that Comey instructed Obama there was “no indication to date that Flynn has handed categorised data to Kislyak[.]”Consequently, if Strzok was precisely reporting his personal or another bureau official’s recollection that Comey stated the Flynn–Kislyak calls “seem legit,” that confirms different accounts beforehand disclosed.In a nutshell, Strzok’s notes are important in what they verify, however they in all probability don’t reveal something new.