The most complete, concise, least-biased timeline on the Flynn case

In recent days, the Justice Department announced its decision to drop the prosecution of former Trump National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

The following timeline highlights some important events in the case.

Flynn Timeline

July 24, 2012: President Obama appoints Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a Democrat, to head up the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

2012-2014: Flynn clashes with colleagues and questions the Obama administration’s claim that the Islamic extremist group Al Qaeda was almost defeated. He also objects to what he says is an Obama administration policy to ban use of phrases such as “Islamic extremist” terrorism, arguing that “to defeat the enemy, you have to define it.”

April 30, 2014: Flynn announces his retirement as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, effective in August. 

Feb. 2016: Flynn becomes a Trump campaign adviser.

Nov. 8, 2016: Trump is elected president.

Flynn publishes an op-ed calling for the U.S. to support Turkey’s president against his opposition. A note is later added disclosing that Flynn was consulting for a company with ties to the Turkish government.

Nov. 10, 2016:  In a meeting, President Obama reportedly warns Trump against hiring Flynn.

Nov. 18, 2016: Trump names Flynn his national security adviser. Over the next few weeks, Flynn communicates with numerous international leaders.

Dec. 1, 2016:  Flynn meets with Russia’s ambassador. 

Dec. 22, 2016: Flynn has a call with Russia’s ambassador.

Dec. 29, 2016: In another call with Russia’s ambassador, Flynn reportedly asks Russia not to retaliate for recent U.S. sanctions against Russia. Russia reportedly agrees. The call is monitored by U.S. intelligence.

Jan. 15, 2017: After leaks about Flynn’s call with Russia’s ambassador, Vice President-elect Mike Pence tells the press that Flynn did not discuss U.S. sanctions on the call.

Jan. 20, 2017: Trump is inaugurated. The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. intelligence officials are investigating Flynn’s contacts with Russia’s ambassador.

Jan. 24, 2017: FBI Director Comey sends two FBI agents, including Peter Strzok, to visit Flynn at the White House and strike up a conversation about Russia. Flynn is not told he’s under investigation. He reportedly tells the agents he did not ask Russia to hold back on retaliating for Obama administration sanctions. 

Jan. 25, 2017: The House Intelligence Committee announces an investigation into Russia influencing the 2016 election and any links to U.S. political campaigns.

Jan. 26, 2017:  Acting Attorney General Sally Yates reportedly tells White House counsel Donald McGahn that Flynn had lied to Pence about the content of his talks with Russian ambassador.

Feb. 9, 2017: The Washington Post cites unnamed current and former administration officials in reporting that Flynn had misled Trump officials about the content of his discussions with Russia’s ambassador.

Feb. 13, 2017:  Flynn resigns stating that he “inadvertently briefed” Trump administration officials “with incomplete information.”

Feb. 14, 2017:  Comey says that, in a meeting, Trump states, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” Comey says he replies “he is a good guy.” Trump later takes issue with Comey’s characterization of the meeting.

March 8, 2017: Flynn officially registers for his past work as a foreign agent representing a Dutch-based company that some said had ties to Turkey.

May 9, 2017: Trump fires Comey, based on recommendations from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein.

May 16, 2017: The New York Times reports that Trump had asked Comey to close down the investigation into Flynn.

May 17, 2017: Rosenstein appoints former FBI Director Robert Mueller to investigate alleged Trump-Russia collusion, as Special Counsel.

June 15, 2017: The Washington Post reports the FBI is looking into “financial dealings” of Flynn, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page, and adviser Jared Kushner.

Dec. 1, 2017:  Flynn pleads guilty to making false statements to the FBI and agrees to cooperate in its Russia investigation. Flynn later says prosecutors threatened to go after his son if he didn’t plead guilty.

Spring 2018: There are reports that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn told Comey they didn’t think Flynn had lied. But Comey publicly says that was not his understanding.

Dec. 4, 2018: Prosecutors recommend no prison time for Flynn, telling a judge that he had cooperated with the Russia investigation.

April 18, 2019: Special Counsel Mueller finds that nobody with Trump campaign, and no American in general, had colluded with Russia. 

June 2019: Flynn fires his legal team at Burling and Covington, and hires former prosecutor Sidney Powell.

Oct. 25, 2019: Flynn files a motion to dismiss the case against him due to prosecutorial misconduct. Among other claims, Flynn says prosecutors failed to turn over exculpatory material tending to show his innocence. Prosecutors claim they were not required to turn over the information.

Jan. 7, 2020: Prosecutors reverse their earlier recommendation for no prison time, and ask for up to six months in prison for Flynn.

Jan. 16, 2020: Flynn files a motion to withdraw his guilty plea.

April 29, 2020: Newly-released documents show FBI officials, prior to their original interview with Flynn, discussing whether the goal was to try to get him to lie to get him fired or so that he could be prosecuted.

May 7, 2020: The Department of Justice announces a decision to drop the case against Flynn.

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35 thoughts on “The most complete, concise, least-biased timeline on the Flynn case”

  1. Chris J. Breisch

    Your May 16, 2017 entry doesn’t make sense.
    May 16, 2017: The New York Times reports that Comey had asked him to close down the investigation into Flynn.

    Did you mean that Trump had asked Comey to close down the investigation?

  2. Clyde Adams III

    “May 16, 2017: The New York Times reports that Comey had asked him to close down the investigation into Flynn.”
    Asked who? Who is “him?”

  3. Thank you for your unwavering diligence on this story. I hope more people realize what real journalism is about. A faithful follower since the Benghazi fiasco, when in Afghanistan. Recognized the truth then, and still do to this day. Keep up the work…

    1. You mean the 302 thst was edited by Lisa page and Peter strozok you can find them online. Compare the two of them together to see the chsnges

  4. Please clarify:

    “May 16, 2017: The New York Times reports that Comey had asked him to close down the investigation into Flynn.”

    Is the “him” in this sentence referring to Rod Rosenstein?

    Thank you.

  5. The key information is missing:

    What was the LEGAL BASIS for the Department of Justice to announce a decision to drop the case against Flynn?

    1. Barr appointed a Federal prosecutor in Saint Louis to look into the case and make a recommendation. The recommendation to drop the charges was made and Barr went with it.

      The Federal prosecutor said that the lie was about a non-material aspect. In other words, it had nothing to do with Russia.

      All such phone calls are automatically recorded as a matter of form. Flynn knew this.
      The normal procedure if there are concerns is for the FBI agents doing the interview is to play the tape, stop the tape when it gets to a part that concerns them and ask for clarification.
      The first interview occurred about 4 months after the telephone conversation and the tape was not replayed. Flynn told them what he remembered. A few months later, there was a second interview and his recollections did not match. Hence, Strzok said he lied. Flynn was willing to go to trial and present his side of the matter.
      The FBI didn’t want that and went after Flynn’s sone. So he pleads guilty.
      Comey had been fired for lying. Strzok was about to get fired for lying.
      If Flynn had gone to trial there would have been a lot more coming out about the FBI than anyone would have wanted.

      1. I’m so glad you posted this! Do you have any idea what they were going after Flynn’s son with? I mean we’re they going to make stuff up about him too? I’m sorry to bother you I just didn’t get any of the info at the beginning. If you can help Thanks! ?

    2. Barr gave to case to Jensen to review. He did. Barr would not do this own as he knew there would be backlash. A second prosecutor also review the case and klinesmith ststed he would plea guilty to changing a fisa court warranty on Carter Page.

  6. “May 16, 2017: The New York Times reports that Comey had asked him to close down the investigation into Flynn.”

    *May 16, 2017: The New York Times reports that Trump had asked Comey to close down the investigation into Flynn.

    I believe the second phrase is correct.

    1. Again the file was suppose to be closed down as they had no evidence against flynn. Strozok requested that it not be closed down and then laughed that their competence worked in their favor

  7. In the timeline for May 16, 2017, the sentence should most likely read “In a New York Time article, James Comey is cited as stating the Trump asked him…” – I have done this in the past when I am ‘smoking’ the keyboard and my mind is HERE but the typing is THERE. Whoops!

    As a matter of context, and to demonstrate how this origins of this is so [deep and petty] and please allow a little liberty here – In the time he (Flynn) was Director of DIA, he also clashed with the senior management of the FBI in relation to an FBI Agent that someone in senior management was trying to ‘hang out to dry’. This senior FBI Agent (non-management, target of retaliation) is purportedly a woman. Please forgive me. I can recall this but not the specifics.

    Again, I beg your indulgence – I have ‘gobs’ of items, uncollated, on several dozen DVDs amounting to some 100plus GB of data – I know this happened. (And at some point I had asked myself – ‘How can these people have x-thousand e-mails, etc – what do they do all day…’)

    Just as an aside, I had thought to look for Flynn and the history – oh boy! (Several million more words I will not read – I begin to think 99%+ of what is written was a waste of stone, paper, electrons and breath!)

    Thank you for work!

    1. Flynn knew there were problems within the Intelligence Community and was going to clean house. Flynn had said, “Comey was not a squared away guy”. I took that to mean, Comey was on his way out.

      Comey struck first.

  8. Why is there no mention in your timeline that the CIA taped General Flynn’s phone call with the Russian Ambassador on December 22nd? Then the CIA provides the FBI a transcript of that call to review prior to meeting with General Flynn. The pre-text used for the meeting to occur was the FBI wanted information about what was discussed on that call. This even though the FBI knew exactly what was discussed as they had the transcript. Do you not think that’s a pretty key piece to this?

    You also fail to mention the FBI agent’s notes that specifically point to entrapment; another key piece of this story.

    1. All such phone calls are recorded. Everyone knew that including Flynn. I have a comment above that explains the process.

  9. Thomas M Fountain

    Thank you Sharyl, for all of your incredible reporting!

    I was looking for the recent report where Peter Strzok had the FBI hold off dropping the investigation ? Abandon the 302 issue?

    Thanks again!

  10. Thank you so much for the clear information. I’m in the UK and it’s impossible to get any facts, the news just gives their opinions. I want to make up my own mind.

  11. Don’t forget to include Obama/Biden and his intelligence team meeting in the Oval Office at the beginning of January, 2016 discussing Flynn and the Logan Act. Don’t forget the CYA email at 12:15 describing the meeting weeks later as Trump is sworn in and takes over the White House.

  12. I can’t find the May 26, 2017 citation noted in the comments about who it was that Comey had asked to shut down the Flynn investigation. Did you remove that citation after publishing it? If so, why? And if so, why no explanation?

    1. No one asked to shut it down they just did not have anything against him and Peter strozok requested to keep it open.

  13. This article is missing a ton of information.

    Just off the top of my head it is missing:

    •the fbi had listened to the phone call and had full transcripts of what was said.

    •Comey went around standard procedure(admitted to it, theres video of him bragging about it)

    • when requesting the Fisa warrant the FBI said they needed to know what was said on the call, but already had the full transcripts.

    • That Flynn was already cleared and that Peter Strok asked them to leave the case open.

    • That the notes released show basically Flynn was getting set up to lie because they already knew what he said.

    •That the FBI agents didnt tell Flynn he was under investigation, that he needed council, not given any rights afforded by law.

    And that’s just the beginning.

    This is hardly a neutral article. It leaves out an over abundance of pertinent information and seems designed to give an altered version of the true events we now know took place.

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