"I did not lie to them."
With those words in a declaration and supplemental motion filed Wednesday, former national security adviser Michael Flynn formally asked a federal judge for permission to withdraw his guilty plea for making false statements to two FBI agents in the White House back on Jan. 24, 2017.
In a sweeping argument that took aim at the bureau's "outrageous" conduct, Flynn's legal team highlighted a slew of information that has come to light since Flynn's plea -- including that no precise record of Flynn's statements to the agents exists and that the original handwritten FD-302 witness report from the interview is "missing," with subsequent versions later "edited" in some undisclosed manner by anti-Trump FBI officials.
Moreover, Flynn's team maintained he had no reason to lie about his communications with the Russian ambassador concerning how the country should respond to sanctions imposed by the Obama administration, or a then-pending vote on Israel in the United Nations. After all, Flynn said, he knew federal officials "routinely monitor, record, and transcribe" conversations like the ones he had with Russian diplomats.
Flynn's argument found support in a Jan. 23, 2017, article in The Washington Post. Citing FBI sources, the Post's article -- published the day before Flynn's interview with the FBI agents -- directly stated that the bureau had listened in on his calls with the Russian ambassador and cleared him of criminal wrongdoing.
Additionally, it has emerged since Flynn's guilty plea that the FBI officials who interviewed Flynn, anti-Trump agent Peter Strzok and "SSA [Supervisory Special Agent] 1," have each been implicated by Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz in apparent misconduct and mismanagement in both the Flynn case and the Russia probe generally.
Strzok's misconduct and anti-Trump bias are well-documented. The identity of SSA 1 is protected in the Flynn legal proceedings by a court order, but Fox News has identified the agent as Joe Pietnka, who moved last year from the Washington, D.C., area to San Francisco. Pientka briefly appeared on the FBI's website as an "Assistant Special Agent in Charge" of the San Francisco field office late last year, according to the Internet archive Wayback Machine.
However, Pientka no longer appears on any FBI website after being removed shortly after Fox News identified him as the unnamed SSA in the IG report.