Justice Department documents highlight criticism of Mueller’s inquiry

In its motion to drop the criminal charge against Flynn, the Justice Department cited Barnett’s January 2017 draft memorandum as evidence that there was no reason to question Flynn about his talks with the Russian because the case was almost closed. The department also said the FBI had transcripts of Flynn’s calls to Kislyak and there was no need, the department argued, to question him further.

Shortly after the interview with Flynn, Barnett asked to leave the case and said he feared it was “problematic” enough to become the subject of an investigation by the inspector general, according to his interview. Your request has been denied.

Separately, Barr shared newly declassified information on Thursday with Graham about the primary source of the document, known as the Steele dossier, in honor of Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled it.

The dossier emerged during the 2016 campaign as an opposition poll funded by Democrats. The FBI included several statements from him in requests to tap Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign who had already been the subject of an open counterintelligence investigation before the bureau opened its Trump-Russia investigation.

The previous declassifications of the Trump administration resulted in the public identification of Igor Danchenko, a Russian political expert, as Steele’s main source. Danchenko gathered rumors and allegations from his own contacts in Russia about alleged links between Russian intelligence and Trump and his associates. (Mr. Danchenko portrayed the dossier as an exaggeration of what he said to Mr. Steele.)

The newly released information states that Mr. Danchenko was the subject of a counterintelligence investigation from May 2009 to March 2011. This fact was included in a previously edited version of a report by the inspector general on faults in listening applications. of the page, and Mr. Barr provided a summary of the investigation for Mr. Graham, who is investigating the FBI, to disclose.

Barr’s summary said the investigation was opened because someone told the FBI that Danchenko had commented on a think tank the previous year that it looked like a request to pay for unauthorized disclosures of confidential information. He also said that a subsequent investigation showed that Danchenko had contact in 2005 and 2006 with people who were suspected of being Russian intelligence officers, including one at the Russian Embassy in Washington, whom he had expressed an interest in eventually entering into the country’s diplomatic service.

Mark Schamel, Danchenko’s lawyer, said in a statement on Friday: “As every objective investigation has shown, Mr. Danchenko is an exceptional analyst who is truthful and reliable.”

Charlie Savage contributed reporting.