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The Obama administration was “afraid” retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn would find out about improper access to National Security Agency data as President Trump’s national security adviser, according to former U.S. Attorney Joe diGenova.
His assertion adds insight to an allegation by Flynn’s lawyer, Sidney Powell, who claims her client was prepared to “audit” the U.S. Intelligence Community as White House national security adviser when he was “set up” by the FBI, resulting in an ensuing controversy that led to his swift ouster from the role.
Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett asked diGenova, a lawyer whose work was caught up in the Ukraine-impeachment controversy, if the previous administration sought to “sabotage” the Trump presidency by “going after” Flynn, who was under investigation in the FBI’s Russia inquiry.
“I don’t think there is any doubt that was part of it,” diGenova said on Witch Hunt: The Flynn Vindication, a program that aired Sunday evening on Fox News. “They needed to get Gen. Flynn removed because once he’s installed as the national security adviser, within a short period of time, he would know everything that had gone on in Crossfire Hurricane, and he would know about the illegal basis for everything that had transpired before it.”
“We know now, by the way, that President Obama is the only president to have multiple opinions by the FISA court, chief judges, accusing him and his FBI and DOJ of illegally accessing NSA databases, and that is one of the things they were really afraid of Flynn finding out about,” he added.
DiGenova appeared to be referring to information that was disclosed in 2017 through Freedom of Information Act litigation by the American Civil Liberties Union and reported by a former columnist at The Hill, John Solomon, in a piece about the NSA and the FBI informing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court or the Justice Department’s national security division about surveillance violations between 2016 and 2019.
Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to FBI investigators about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak regarding a United Nations resolution on Israel and sanctions. But Flynn now claims he was set up by the FBI, and the Justice Department is seeking to drop the case. Leaks about his conversations with Kislyak, which indicated he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other officials, led to his ouster as national security adviser in February 2017. With calls from Democrats, Republicans, and Flynn’s legal team for their disclosure, there is an effort to find and declassify the transcripts of those conversations.
Last week, it was reported that the FBI, not the NSA, wiretapped Kislyak’s calls with Trump’s then-incoming national security adviser on Dec. 29, 2016, and made a summary and transcript. FBI Director Christopher Wray ordered an internal review of the Flynn case on Friday.
DiGenova was in the news during the impeachment saga as details emerged about his and his wife Victoria Toensing’s work with Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to uncover evidence that former Vice President Joe Biden held up to $1 billion in loan guarantees from Ukraine to help his son escape a potential corruption investigation. Among their clients, it was revealed, was Solomon, whose work at The Hill was subject to a review and criticism by the outlet. Solomon, who left The Hill and has since launched his own news website, Just the News, was also on the panel for Jarrett’s special about the Flynn case.
Trump pressing Ukraine to announce investigations into his political rivals, including the Bidens, was the subject of impeachment, which ended in the Senate’s acquittal of the president in February.
A vocal Trump defender who claims to have insider information on matters such as leaks, diGenova told WMAL last month the government has been abusing the FISA system to monitor political targets “since almost the beginning of the Obama administration.”