The bureau interviewed Flynn on Jan. 24, 2017, about his transition conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. In March 2017, Comey told the House Intelligence Committee that the agents “saw nothing that indicated to them that [Flynn] knew he was lying to them.” Comey said the same thing to the Senate Judiciary Committee at around the same time; chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wrote recently that Comey “led us to believe … that the Justice Department was unlikely to prosecute [Flynn] for false statements made in that interview.”
Now, with the Trump lawyers’ memo leaked to the New York Times, it seems clear that all the key players in the Flynn affair, including the president himself, were aware of the FBI’s assessment in real time. And the president’s knowledge — that the agents did not think Flynn lied, plus strong hints that the investigation was actually over — underlay Trump’s Feb. 14, 2017, statement to Comey that, “I hope you can see your way to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.” Trump’s lawyers argue that the president had no intention to obstruct an investigation he thought was finished.
The leaked memo portrays a confused White House in the administration’s early days, trying to figure out what the Justice Department was up to with its interest in Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak.