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CBS News' Catherine Herridge discusses FISA and Michael Flynn on "The Takeout"

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has frequently been in the news recently, with the Justice Department's move this month to dismiss its criminal case against him. Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators, this week asked the federal appeals court in the District of Columbia to order a federal district court judge to grant the Justice Department's request.

CBS News senior investigative correspondent Catherine Herridge called Flynn is a "lightning rod" for Republicans and Democrats, particularly in this highly polarized era. Attorney General William Barr told Herridge last week in an exclusive interview that the department believes "a crime cannot be established here because there was not, in our view, a legitimate investigation going on.

Listen to this episode on ART19

"They did not have a basis for a counterintelligence investigation against Flynn at that stage, based on a perfectly legitimate and appropriate call he made as a member of the transition," Barr told Herridge.

In an interview with CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett for this week's episode of "The Takeout" podcast, Herridge said Barr believes the FBI had a certain outcome in mind when interviewing Flynn in early 2017.

"It's like a confirmation bias — they were looking at the information through a very certain lens," Herridge said of the attorney general's thinking.


Highlights from this week's episode:

  • Catherine Herridge on Barr's thoughts about the investigation into Michael Flynn: "It's like a confirmation bias — they were looking at the information through a very certain lens."
  • FISA applications: "These are incredibly awesome powers that law enforcement needs in order to break up spy rings and disrupt terrorist supplies. But for that very reason, whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, I think you should care whether this high threshold for gathering intelligence on Americans inside the United States was met in 2016 and in 2017."
  • James Comey's tenure as FBI director: "I've often thought how history might look different if there had been a different FBI director in 2016."

Herridge also talked about the report by the Justice Department inspector general, which determined that the FBI had misused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act when authorizing surveillance against an American citizen, Carter Page, who was a former adviser for the Trump campaign.

"These are incredibly awesome powers that law enforcement needs in order to break up spy rings and disrupt terrorist supplies. But for that very reason, whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, I think you should care whether this high threshold for gathering intelligence on Americans inside the United States was met in 2016 and in 2017," Herridge said.

Herridge discussed the current investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham into the origins of the Russia probe. She said that his investigation was not likely to lead to mass indictments.

"We're not going to have mass indictments in this case," Herridge said, comparing Durham's likely findings to those of special counsel Robert Mueller, who did not find sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to bring a criminal case against the president or members of his campaign.

"But that's not to say that there was not bad activity," Herridge added.

Herridge and Garrett previously worked at Fox News together, and Herridge discussed her motivations as a reporter.

"I always try to be driven by the facts and especially by the documents," Herridge said. When asked about criticism of her tenure at Fox, Herridge said "it just kind of washes over me."

"I just keep rowing the boat and sticking to what I know," Herridge replied.

For more of Major's conversation with Herridge, download "The Takeout" podcast on Art19, iTunesGooglePlaySpotify and Stitcher. New episodes are available every Friday morning. Also, you can watch "The Takeout" on CBSN Friday at 5pm, 9pm, and 12am ET and Saturday at 1pm, 9pm, and 12am ET. For a full archive of "The Takeout" episodes, visit www.takeoutpodcast.com. And you can listen to "The Takeout" on select CBS News Radio affiliates (check your local listings).  

Producers: Arden Farhi, Jamie Benson, Sara Cook and Eleanor Watson
CBSN Production: Eric Soussanin, Julia Boccagno and Grace Segers
Show email: TakeoutPodcast@cbsnews.com
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