Doug Collins: Flynn investigation ran by 'deputized street thugs'

Spencer Neale | Washington Examiner

A top Republican who sits on the House Judiciary Committee called the FBI officials who investigated retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn "deputized street thugs."

Rep. Doug Collins, a Georgia Republican who is running for a Senate seat, took the swipe at the upper echelons of President Barack Obama's administration during a Fox News appearance Wednesday.

"It was all just an attack on President Trump," Collins said. "So, I'm glad to see this is coming out. And it's time people start being held accountable because the way it was going about, you had Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page, and all these acting as a roving band of, you know, deputized street thugs going after a candidate for president."

He was referring to former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page.

Documents unsealed in the past few weeks have raised questions about the FBI's motives in interviewing Flynn in late January 2017 about his conversations with a Russian envoy as well as the roles top officials, including Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden, played in the Russia inquiry.

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States before Trump entered the White House. But after switching legal teams, the former national security adviser claimed he was innocent and that he was set up by the FBI. The Justice Department filed to dismiss the charges against Flynn on Thursday, agreeing with Flynn’s attorneys that his interview with the FBI should never have taken place because his conversations with the Russian diplomat were “entirely appropriate.”

The federal judge presiding over the case invited outside opinions Tuesday. Democrats, some law enforcement veterans, and even Obama himself have criticized the Justice Department for its move to drop the Flynn case.

Collins, a staunch Trump defender, also said the recent revelations about the Flynn case further prove critics were wrong to condemn him and others who raised concerns about the legitimacy of the federal investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

"We were always made to feel like we were the ones who were on the outside just yelling, and then nothing was happening," Collins said. "The truth of the matter is now ... that everyone has to acknowledge that this was something that was actually legitimately going on."