When Bill Barr dropped the case against Michael Flynn, the attorney general suggested, in the Justice Department's motion to dismiss, that the FBI's 2017 interview of Flynn was "illegitimate" and that the bureau had "no valid counterintelligence reason" to carry it out, per Axios. To make that argument, the filing relies heavily on the words of ex-DoJ official Mary McCord, who, per Bloomberg, oversaw the early stages of the Russia investigation. McCord, a former acting assistant attorney general for national security, sat down with the FBI for an interview in 2017 two months after retiring from her decades-long career at the department, and Barr's filing cited that interview more than two dozen times as it argued Flynn should not be prosecuted for lying to the FBI, the Hill reports. In an extensive New York Times piece, McCord accuses Barr of twisting her words.
"The account of my July 2017 interview describes my department’s frustration with the FBI’s conduct, sometimes using colorful adjectives like 'flabbergasted' to describe our reactions," McCord concedes, explaining that the FBI's interview of Flynn should have been coordinated with the DoJ and certain protocols should have been followed, rather than the interview happening with no notice. But her interview "does not anywhere suggest that the FBI’s interview of Mr. Flynn was unconstitutional, unlawful or not 'tethered' to any legitimate counterintelligence purpose," she writes. It "is no support for Mr. Barr’s dismissal of the Flynn case," does not suggest that there was no reason for the FBI to investigate Flynn, and does not suggest the bureau's interview of him was illegitimate. "The account of my interview in 2017 doesn’t help the department support this conclusion, and it is disingenuous for the department to twist my words to suggest that it does." Her full piece has a lengthy explanation. (Read more Michael Flynn stories.)