FBI agent at center of Muller investigation says probe was dominated by ‘get Trump’ attorneys
A federal agent who was part of the Robert Mueller investigation into so-called Russian collusion by President Donald Trump to allow foreign influence to sway an election says that he feels the investigation was dominated by a “get Trump” attitude that helped fuel his misgivings about the probe, according to a summary of his Department of Justice interview.
William Barnett was formerly a case agent for the case involving Lt. General Michael Flynn. Flynn was subsequently prosecuted for lying to the FBI and the Barnett interview release is part of an attempt by the prosecutors to get the court to dismiss the Flynn case.
Barnett indicated that prosecutors in the Russia-Trump case were “groping” for a criminal complaint of which to find Trump or his associates guilty and noted that the investigation did not have a “specific criminal allegation” which is usually the basis for a criminal investigation.
The Flynn investigation was an offshoot into the general Russian collusion investigation which began before Mueller was appointed special prosecutor.
Barnett said he thought that by the election in November of 2016 there was no evidence of any illegal activity by Flynn, a view shared by others, but that the person who was the lead analyst in the investigation, who he disparaged as a “believer,” wouldn’t close the case.
At one point Barnett even asked that he be removed from the case because he thought that it would eventually be investigated by the Inspector General for possible wrongdoing by the agents involved.
In fact, it wasn’t until James Comey was fired and Mueller came on board as a special prosecutor that there was much activity in the investigation because no wrongdoing had been found by Trump and associates, said Barnett.
It was then that the “get Trump” attitude displayed itself in two different ways according to the FBI agent’s interview.
The first way was that investigators sometimes deliberately misinterpreted things that Trump said or did.
For example, when Trump said he wanted investigators to “get to the bottom of things,” investigators chose to interpret that as Trump wanting to cover up some crime.
“Barnett corrected [redacted] saying ‘no, he said get to the bottom of it,’” according to a copy of the interview record.
The second way that the “get Trump” attitude was displayed was the assumption that something criminal was going to be found, and that investigators engaged in a competition to find the smoking gun, so that they could be part of something “big.”
“As an example, Barnett said [Mueller] attorneys during interviews would be convinced that the interviewee had information despite the answers provided” that indicated that in fact the person had no relevant information.
Barnett indicated in his interview that he thought the investigation, which came to an ignominious end with the Mueller Report, just kept retreading the same ground hoping to find evidence that never materialized.
PHOTO: Win McNamee/Getty Images
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