It looked like another shoe might drop on Thursday when it was noticed that former Mueller prosecutor Brandon Van Grack was withdrawing from the Michael Flynn case. Flynn attorney Sidney Powell, time and again, accused Van Grack et al. of committing “egregious” misconduct and of withholding evidence favorable to her client. What you might not have expected is that the shoe was the Department of Justice dropping the Flynn case entirely.
According to the Associated Press, that’s what the DOJ intends to do. Notably, the U.S. Attorney that William Barr tasked with reviewing the Flynn case is said to be the person who recommended this course of action:
The Justice Department said it had concluded that Flynn’s interview by the FBI was “untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn” and that the interview on January 24, 2017 was “conducted without any legitimate investigative basis.”
The U.S. attorney reviewing the Flynn case, Jeff Jensen, recommended the move to Attorney General William Barr last week and formalized the recommendation in a document this week.
“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.”
In February, Barr picked U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri Jeffrey Jensen to examine the case. Jensen, an appointee of President Donald Trump, was supposed to examine the circumstances of the FBI’s Flynn interview. Between then and now, Fox News reporting said that Flynn–who previously pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI—would soon be exonerated.
The documents suggested that the FBI was debating approaching Flynn with a several-pronged attack during the fateful Jan. 24, 2017 interview: (1) to seek a prosecution on the merits of his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak; (2) to catch him in a lie; and/or (3) to get him fired. Flynn had spoken with Kislyak after the 2016 election.
“What’s our goal? Truth/Admission or get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?” the handwritten notes say in their own words.
Elsewhere, the notes say, “[W]e have a case on Flynn + Russians.”
The notes further suggested the FBI was nervous about political repercussions from newly-elected President Trump. “If we’re seen as playing games, WH will be furious,” the notes said. “Protect our institution by not playing games.” The FBI, controversially, even floated targeting Flynn for violating the Logan Act.
Many lawyers commented that the public, even if repulsed by the FBI’s conduct in the Flynn case, should be aware that such interview tactics are not uncommon.
You can read the motion to dismiss below. There are many, many pages of exhibits.
[Image via Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images]
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