Wray has ordered an internal review of how the bureau handled its investigation of Michael Flynn, President Trump's former national security adviser, the bureau said in a statement Friday.
Sixteen prosecutors from the Watergate case are calling on the court system to ignore the Department of Justice and not drop the criminal case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Flynn's lawyers are seeking to essentially bypass Sullivan in getting the case dismissed.
The FBI did not say what sort of potential misconduct it was looking for in the investigation of Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to agents about conversations with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition.
Earlier this month, the Justice Department asked Judge Sullivan to toss the case saying Flynn was set-up by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
People close to the president, though, have said he does not seem inclined to fire Wray, and Barr has publicly defended the Federal Bureau of Investigation director, calling him "a great partner to me in our effort to restore the American people's confidence in both the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation". He has commissioned John Durham, the US attorney in CT, to re-examine that investigation; and in January, he assigned another prosecutor, Jeff Jensen, the USA attorney in St. Louis, to go over the Flynn files. In the meantime, the FBI has opened an internal review into how the bureau handled the investigation into Flynn - something that caught renewed scrutiny after FBI notes showed the agency discussing whether it meant to "get him to lie".
"This case is ultimately about judicial independence and the integrity of the Judicial Branch and therefore about the rule of law in our constitutional democracy", the brief reads.
But given the remarkable way Flynn's case has unfolded - which included Flynn in December 2018 reaffirming his guilty plea to Sullivan under oath - Sullivan isn't granting the DOJ request just yet. Judge Sullivan so far has refused, a rare act of defiance by a judge in response to a Justice Department request.
Flynn's lawyers have brought their issues with Sullivan's approach to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which on Thursday ordered Sullivan to respond to Flynn's request that the appeals court get involved.
The department has said in court papers that there was no legitimate investigatory basis to interview Flynn, and that any false statements he might have made were not material. Instead, Judge Emmet Sullivan appointed former federal Judge John Gleeson as an amicus curiae (Friend of Court) in the case as well as opened up the case to allow outside parties to weigh in on the case with friend-of-the-court briefs. The statement said the FBI's review will "complement" that work, and Jensen's examination will take priority.