How aggressive was Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation in trying to get convictions? One figure it targeted says she had to leave the United States for a while because she was “traumatized” by a series of “perjury trap” interviews.
In a series of interviews this past week, K.T. McFarland — a longtime politico who served a brief stint under President Donald Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn — says the aggressive interview tactics employed by the FBI, acting at Mueller’s investigation’s behest, were overly aggressive.
“I am the original Girl Scout,” McFarland, the deputy national security advisor under Flynn, told WMAL-FM Wednesday. “I followed all the rules, I turned in all of my files and my phone logs and my text messages and emails when I left government, didn’t leak to the press.”
Playing by the rules, she said, got her in trouble.
“When the Mueller people came calling at my door unannounced, they started quizzing me on things that I didn’t have access to and didn’t remember 100 percent accurately, and it allowed them to say, ‘well you must be lying then.’”
She said that “after, you know, 20, 30, 40 hours of hell, that they wanted me to either plead guilty to a crime I didn’t feel I committed or to talk about other people having done things that I didn’t think they had done.”
According to the Washington Examiner, McFarland was interviewed in the summer of 2017. She initially denied having any knowledge of Flynn’s conversations during the presidential transition period with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, conversations which eventually led to Flynn’s conviction for lying to the FBI.
According to the Examiner, McFarland later revised her statement to say Flynn may have talked to her about the calls, which had to do with U.S. sanctions on Russia, after Flynn’s guilty plea indicated he had discussed the conversations with her. McFarland was never charged in the case.
In an interview with Fox News, McFarland described the FBI’s tactics as misleading.
“The FBI showed up at my house unannounced. I was all by myself. They come in and I said, ‘Do I need a lawyer for anything? I have never met with any Russians. I have never dealt with any Russians,’” she said.
According to McFarland, the FBI agents told her that she could get a lawyer if she wanted but they just needed a “little bit of information” from her.
“So, I naively went along with it. The whole time they were setting me up for a perjury trap,” she told Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade.
“Because, Brian, they seized all of my files, my documents, text messages, cell phones from the period that I was in government … They had control of them. They wouldn’t let me have control of them.
“They thought they could pressure me to say, ‘Well, I lied in one of my early talks with you guys when I didn’t have access to my information,’” she added.
She was also questioned about a 90-minute period that took place while McFarland was visiting Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. The agents noted that the 90 minutes showed no phone activities. She said asked her if that quiet period meant she was taking marching orders from Trump during that time.
“I looked at them and I said, ‘No, that was actually when I was having lunch with my husband and I put my cell phone away,’” she said.
“Look, they had absolutely targeted me for a perjury crime or to link Trump and until I got the best lawyer in the country to come along with me, they really thought they had me.”
Those lawyers came at a cost, however; McFarland said she incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.
“At one point, I turned to my lawyer and said, ‘just tell me what they want me to say and I’ll say it!’” McFarland told WMAL. However, she said her husband told her to stand her ground.
“I finally said, ‘no, you’re going to have to charge me with a crime,’” she said. “At that point, they went away because I couldn’t give them what they needed to spin their web. And then they moved on to the porn star queen,” referring to Stormy Daniels.
McFarland said the Mueller spotlight was disturbing enough that she left the country.
“We went to the remotest islands of Scotland,” she said. “And I just tried to think about, ‘what is happening to my country?’”
For whatever it’s worth, the Mueller investigation didn’t exactly do McFarland in, and it may not end up doing Flynn in, either. The long saga of the short-serving national security advisor could get even longer now that Flynn is looking to withdraw his guilty plea due to his treatment by the FBI.
That’s a Hail Mary pass, however, so assume that his guilty plea stands. The major figures Mueller’s probe took down were Flynn and Roger Stone, the latter a man whose behavior was more self-destructive than republic-destroying.
The special counsel delivered a report that allowed liberals to fulminate about vague accusations of obstruction of justice in congressional committees for a few weeks and, well, there you go. There were very few Democrats left flogging that very dead horse when Ukraine became a much shinier object.
Assuming McFarland’s account of her treatment was accurate, she’s almost certainly not the only person who’s going to be coming forward with stories like this. It’s not a good look.
For her part, McFarland said the experience underscored just how entitled entrenched bureaucrats believe themselves to be.
“They’re a certain group of people who have gotten used to governing and they think it is their divine right,” she told WMAL. “And even if the American voter votes for somebody that wants to get rid of them or change their policies, they feel they have the patriotic duty to overrule election results.
“And to me, we’re in a very dangerous place.”