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Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe released a blistering statement on Thursday criticizing the Justice Department's decision to drop charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn as "pure politics designed to please the president."

The big picture: The Justice Department claimed that the interview in which Flynn lied to the FBI "was untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn." McCabe rebukes this assessment as "patently false," arguing that Flynn's high-level Russian contacts posed a "considerable national security risk."

Full statement:

"We opened the Russia investigation to determine if the Russian government coordinated with the Trump campaign. Mr. Flynn had prominent, high level interaction with Russian officials, so we investigated whether he might be that point of coordination. We received incontrovertible evidence that Mr. Flynn spoke to the Russian ambassador on more than one occasion, and that he actively tried to influence the actions of Russian officials, and that those officials acceded to his requests. The FBI was obligated to interview him to better understand why he was talking to Russian officials. During the interview, he lied about the substance of his conversations with those officials. His lies added to our concerns about his relationship with the Russian government. Later, under oath in Federal Court, he twice admitted to lying to the FBI.
The Department’s position that the FBI had no reason to interview Mr. Flynn pursuant to its counterintelligence investigation is patently false, and ignores the considerable national security risk his contacts raised. Moreover, the Department’s position contradicts the findings by both the Special Counsel and the Office of the Inspector General.
Today’s move by the Justice Department has nothing to do with the facts or the law — it is pure politics designed to please the president."

Go deeper

Aug 13, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Michael Cohen releases excerpt, cover from Trump tell-all book

President Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen on Thursday released the cover and a 3,700-word foreword from his upcoming tell-all book, "Disloyal."

Why it matters: Cohen, who pleaded guilty to lying to Congress on Trump's behalf and is currently carrying out a three-year prison sentence in home confinement, was at the center of Trump's inner circle for over a decade. A judge ruled last month that the Justice Department's efforts to send him back to prison after he was released due to coronavirus concerns was retaliation for his book.

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.