Attorney General Bill Barr wasn't just brought in to undermine the Mueller investigation, although he has done that on multiple occasions. No, he was brought in to nullify it, as he took a big step in that direction today by dropping all charges against Michael Flynn.
The Justice Department moved Thursday to drop charges against President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts during the presidential transition.
The unraveling of Flynn’s guilty plea marked a stunning reversal by the Justice Department in its case against the retired three-star Army general, who was convicted in the course of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
In court documents filed Thursday, the Justice Department said “after a considered review of all the facts and circumstances of this case, including newly discovered and disclosed information … the government has concluded that [Flynn’s interview by the FBI in January 2017] was untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn,” and that it was “conducted without any legitimate investigative basis.”
It is highly unusual for the Justice Department to seek to undo a guilty plea, and comes just months after Attorney General William P. Barr pressed prosecutors in another of Mueller’s cases to soften their sentencing recommendation for the president’s friend and former political adviser Roger Stone.
Flynn was one of the first and highest-ranking Trump aides to cooperate and be convicted in Mueller’s investigation. He pleaded guilty in December 2017 to making false statements about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the United States before Trump had taken office and as the FBI was attempting to ascertain whether anyone in Trump’s campaign had coordinated with Russia to influence the election’s outcome.
However, his case became one of the most bitterly contested after Mueller’s probe ended in March 2019. Flynn’s new defense lawyers began moving to void his conviction, alleging he was the victim of a partisan conspiracy by prosecutors, federal investigators and even his initial attorneys. His new defense team also alleged he was insufficiently represented by one of Washington’s most prominent law firms, Covington & Burling, when he entered his guilty plea.
Barr in January directed the U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen of St. Louis to review the case’s handling by the federal prosecutor’s office in Washington, which took over Mueller cases last year, and Jensen made the final recommendation.
“Through the course of my review of General Flynn’s case, I concluded the proper and just course was to dismiss the case,” Jensen said in a statement. “I briefed Attorney General Barr on my findings, advised him on these conclusions, and he agreed.”
The retreat could be a political windfall for Trump, who last month announced on Twitter that he was “strongly considering a Full Pardon” for Flynn, whom Trump removed just weeks into the new administration. The Justice Department’s decision also means that the president won’t have to become personally involved in the Flynn case to get the outcome he desired.
To accept the DOJ's logic here, given the voluminous evidence against Flynn, given the confession, trial and conviction, given Judge Sullivan's statement in that trial after conviction that he believed Flynn "sold his country out", you have to suspend disbelief but also basic legal theory.
The DOJ said that Flynn never should have been interviewed. Try to wrap your head around that.
Barr dropped the charges because Trump told him to find a way to do it, so that Trump didn't have to pardon Flynn.
"[Trump] was prepared to pardon [Flynn] as recently as last week... and he was talked out of it by advisors who said 'wait, let the Justice Department, let the judge handle it... rather than intervening in a direct way yourself'" - @peterbakernyt w/ @NicolleDWallace pic.twitter.com/7mF5ibUypA— Deadline White House (@DeadlineWH) May 7, 2020
That's the story. Barr made it happen. First the Stone sentencing mess, now this. This was a pardon without a pardon.
And even Trump was getting his marching orders.
President Donald Trump said he discussed the U.S. investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, calling the probe a “hoax.”
During a meeting with Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Trump told reporters that Putin had called him to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. Trump said he offered American-made ventilators to combat Russia’s coronavirus outbreak.
Then he remarked that “the Russia hoax” had made it difficult for the U.S. and Russia to deal with each other, “and we discussed that.”
“I said, ‘You know, it’s a very appropriate time, because things are falling out now and coming in line showing what a hoax this whole investigation was, it was a total disgrace, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you see a lot of things happen over the next number of weeks,”’ Trump said. “This is just one piece of a very dishonest puzzle.”
Understand now that the next step is bringing charges against those involved in the Mueller probe for "misconduct".
That's coming very soon. Rule of law is just about dead in America.