Finally, the case against former Trump National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn appears to be at an end. On Wednesday morning, a circuit court of appeals has ordered Judge Emmet Sullivan to drop the case against Flynn. This came after a legally suspect move on Sullivan’s part to keep the case open, despite the fact that the Department of Justice—led by Attorney General William Barr— dropped the charges against Flynn.
Attorney General Barr’s Department of Justice dropped the charges against Flynn when it was revealed that an offshoot of Comey’s FBI had set the former NSA up during the Trump-Russia investigation. Given Flynn’s coerced confession and the subsequent damaging of his reputation, it appeared that the case was finally over when Barr dropped the charges. All that was required was a judge to sign off on it. It should have merely been a procedural duty. Except…the judge wasn’t done with the case yet.
“A federal appeals court ordered a judge to immediately dismiss the criminal case against President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
A three-judge panel on Wednesday said U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan did not have the authority to examine whether the government’s surprise motion to dismiss the case, in which Flynn pleaded guilty twice to lying to the FBI, was part of a corrupt effort to aid one of Trump’s political allies.
The appeals court said such an inquiry would harm the executive branch’s exclusive prosecutorial power. ‘The contemplated proceedings would likely require the Executive to reveal the internal deliberative process behind its exercise of prosecutorial discretion, interfering with the Article II charging authority,’ Rao wrote for the majority.
Gleeson’s brief seemed to weigh heavily on the majority’s thinking. The opinions slammed his assertion that the motion to dismiss was cooked up to help a Trump ally.
‘He relied on news stories, tweets, and other facts outside the record to contrast the government’s grounds for dismissal here with its rationales for prosecution in other cases,’ Rao wrote.
The majority also held that Sullivan had also gone too far by inviting members of the general public to file briefs in the case, suggesting ‘anything but a circumscribed review.’”
Last month, the New York Times reported, “The federal judge overseeing the case against President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn appointed a hard-charging former prosecutor and judge on Wednesday to oppose the Justice Department’s effort to drop the case and to explore a perjury charge against Mr. Flynn…Judge Sullivan also asked Judge Gleeson to explore the possibility that by trying to withdraw his pleas, Mr. Flynn opened himself to perjury charges.”
Judge Emmet Sullivan requested an anti-Trump judge and former prosecutor file an amicus brief to the court opposing the DOJ’s decision to drop the case. The man Judge Sullivan tapped to provide the amicus brief, John Gleeson, recently wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post in which he trashed Barr and Flynn.
Gleason urged Judge Sullivan to keep the case open when he wrote, “Prosecutors deserve a ‘presumption of regularity’ — the benefit of the doubt that they are acting honestly and following the rules. But when the facts suggest they have abused their power, that presumption fades.”
The department made conflicting statements to the court, they wrote, saying that Judge Sullivan had the “authority, the tools and the obligation” to decide whether the motion to withdraw was credible.
“There has been nothing regular about the department’s effort to dismiss the Flynn case,” they wrote. “The record reeks of improper political influence.”
This is good news not only for General Flynn but also for those who revere the separation of powers embedded in the United States Constitution. The Executive Branch—described by Article Two—has the sole power of prosecution. The judiciary—Article Three—can only rule on a case when the Executive Branch brings charges.
Given that the Department of Justice dropped the charges against Flynn, there was absolutely no basis for keeping the case going, much less bringing in a Trump-hating former judge to give an outside opinion, especially when that opinion mimicked an op-ed in which he trashed the president and accused Barr’s DOJ of abusing its power by helping protect a Trump aid.
That is an absurd contention given the facts in the case. Flynn was set up by the FBI and then pressured into pleading guilty to save his son from being prosecuted.
That is dirty politics, not impartial justice. General Flynn has been dragged through the mud for the past three-and-a-half years. He deserves better than this. He is an American patriot who served his nation with distinction for over three decades in the armed forces. It is about time he received a reprieve. The Obama administration has ruined his reputation in the hopes of unseating Donald Trump using the levers of government.
Sadly, it is unlikely they give a damn. In their minds, it was necessary to use Flynn to advance their nefarious Russia hoax investigation. How do these people sleep at night?