FBI’s politically partisan frame-up of Michael Flynn dangerous for workers

By Terry Evans
June 8, 2020
Picket protests FBI spying against labor, political activity in September 1976. SWP exposed, beat back capitalist rulers’ political police with successful political, legal campaign.
Militant/Glenn CampbellPicket protests FBI spying against labor, political activity in September 1976. SWP exposed, beat back capitalist rulers’ political police with successful political, legal campaign.

Long-suppressed evidence showing the FBI framed up President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn was revealed April 29.

The exposure of this operation is important for the working class, not because we have any stake in defending Flynn. A Republican politician, he is part of the capitalist two-party setup that defends the interests of the rulers against working people. For years he was the director of Washington’s  Defense Intelligence Agency — a top government spy. This FBI frame-up was what the boss class’s political police have done to working-class militants for decades and will do again as the class struggle deepens.

Flynn’s entrapment was part of broader efforts by partisan FBI leaders and Democratic politicians to bring down the Trump administration. This use of the rulers’ political police inside the bosses’ two political parties is new.

The recent revelations document how former FBI directors James Comey and Robert Mueller and ex-Deputy Assistant FBI Director Peter Strzok tried to cook up a way to oust Trump and overturn the 2016 election, starting with their operation against Flynn.

Before Trump assumed office, Flynn spoke on the phone with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December 2016, to set the stage for the new administration’s diplomacy. Washington’s spies wiretapped the conversation and shared the tape with a range of Democratic Party leaders.

Desperate for dirt on the incoming administration, these forces — including Comey, Vice President Joe Biden and some 39 others — tried to assess if they had something to use.

But FBI agents reluctantly concluded they didn’t have real evidence to charge Flynn with anything and decided to close their case. Then anti-Trump fanatic and FBI official Strzok ordered them not to.

The frame-up unravels

The newly revealed documents show that shortly afterward FBI chief Comey ordered agents to entrap Flynn. They lied to Flynn repeatedly, telling him they wanted to talk to him but he wasn’t under investigation. They told him there was no need to bring a lawyer to their “discussion.” Then the agents — including Strzok — pressed him about his talk with Kislyak, without telling him they already had every word of that conversation recorded.

The recently released documents show top bureau officials debated before talking with Flynn whether they should “get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired.”

The agents who questioned Flynn later stated they didn’t think he deliberately lied to them. But by then former FBI boss Robert Mueller had launched his probe into the Trump campaign’s alleged “Russia collusion,” and he wanted to lean on Flynn. So Mueller charged Flynn with making false statements to the spies. Mueller’s agents threatened him with  up to five years in jail, and told him they would also charge his son. They said Flynn and his family would face financial ruin if he tried to challenge their case in court.

Flynn agreed to a plea bargain, admitting his “guilt” and offering Mueller his cooperation. Mueller’s agents then interrogated Flynn 19 times, but couldn’t come up with any “evidence” to take down Trump or his administration.

So they decided to make Flynn pay, tossed their deal with him aside and pressed for prison time.

Earlier this year Flynn reversed his guilty plea, changed his lawyers and said the charges against him were based on “vindictiveness.” On May 7 Attorney General William Barr announced that the Justice Department was dropping its prosecution and moved to close the case. The next day former President Barack Obama urged courts to step in and prevent Flynn from “getting off scot-free.”

Prominent members of Obama’s administration as well as the editorial boards of the New York Times and other Trump-hating papers screamed bloody murder. They are fearful that more of the truth about what their “Russia collusion probe” was really about will come out and are desperate to keep the Flynn victimization standing. They are being helped by unprecedented action by Judge Emmet Sullivan, who is in charge of Flynn’s case.

Even though the prosecution says they have no case against Flynn, the judge refuses to close it. He has appointed another judge to argue against the Justice Department’s decision to drop the charges and asked him to gather a group of “legal experts” to make a guilty conviction stick.

FBI targets working-class fighters

For decades, the FBI — like local “Red Squads” in cities and states — have used spying, disruption and frame-ups against working-class militants, opponents of Washington’s wars and Black rights fighters, including members of the Socialist Workers Party. The extent and viciousness of the FBI’s assaults was graphically revealed in the course of the SWP’s political and legal campaign against the agency’s Cointelpro operation, in a victorious lawsuit initiated in 1973.

Whatever the “rules,” the FBI will go after whomever the ruling class deems necessary to defend its interests, especially during a rise in working-class struggle.

But what unfolded in the entrapment of Flynn — and the whole Mueller operation against the White House — is unusual in bourgeois politics. Here one wing of the rulers’ two parties conducted a partisan assault on another.

This is dangerous for the working class. If  the two parties of the capitalist rulers feel free to use their political police against each other, they’ll be emboldened to do so against working-class fighters.