Flynn Told a Judge the FBI Never Tricked Him. The White House Still Says the FBI Did.

“We still firmly believe” even after a federal court hears the exact opposite.


White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to back down from remarks accusing the FBI of having “ambushed” Michael Flynn during a January 2017 interview.

Earlier on Tuesday, Flynn admitted in court to having known it was a crime to lie to the FBI—a a sharp break from his lawyers’ suggestion last week that federal investigators may have tricked him into lying.

“No, we still firmly believe,” Sanders said when asked if she wanted to revisit the accusation during a White House press briefing barely two hours later.

“What we do know that was inappropriate, by own self-admittance of James Comey, is that the FBI broke standard protocol in the way that they came in and ambushed General Flynn and in the way that they questioned him, and in the way that they encouraged him not to have White House counsel’s office present,” she continued. “We know that because James Comey told us that.”

Sanders’ decision to stand by her initial remarks, which came during an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday morning, came shortly after Flynn told a federal judge that investigators never “entrapped” him, in the same proceeding where he admitted to knowing it was a crime to lie to the FBI.

After receiving a scathing rebuke by a federal judge, Flynn’s sentencing was ultimately delayed until March.

Ahead of Flynn’s Tuesday court appearance, President Donald Trump and conservative talking heads pushed the narrative that Flynn was the victim of potential wrongdoing by the FBI. Sanders’ refusal to retract her statement on Tuesday—in spite of Flynn telling a federal judge the exact opposite—signals the president and his allies are likely to keep pushing the line.


In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.