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Former Mueller Prosecutor Who Quit Barr’s DOJ Over Roger Stone Case Breaks His Silence

The former Department of Justice prosecutor who quit the department after it intervened in Roger Stone’s sentencing recommendation broke his silence on Monday. He said he felt compelled to do so after the DOJ moved to drop its case against former Trump national security advisor and retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn.

Jonathan Kravis wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post on Monday, explaining why he left the DOJ and a job he loved. He said that he thought the DOJ “abandoned its responsibility to do justice” in the Stone case. Remarkably, Kravis said he thought that the handling of the Stone case would be a one-time event. He now says he was wrong about that.

“Last week, the department again put political patronage ahead of its commitment to the rule of law, filing a motion to dismiss the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn — notwithstanding Flynn’s sworn guilty plea and a ruling by the court that the plea was sound,” Kravis began, noting that he had stayed silent until now. “But I feel compelled to write because I believe that the department’s handling of these matters is profoundly misguided, because my colleagues who still serve the department are duty-bound to remain silent and because I am convinced that the department’s conduct in the Stone and Flynn cases will do lasting damage to the institution.”

Kravis said that he resigned after DOJ higher ups intervened in Stone’s sentencing recommendation because he “was not willing to serve a department that would so easily abdicate its responsibility to dispense impartial justice.”

The former longtime DOJ prosecutor also said the motion to drop the Flynn case was “appalling.”

“Flynn pleaded guilty to the crime of making false statements in connection with lies he told in an FBI interview about his contacts with the Russian ambassador. Flynn twice admitted under oath that he had committed this crime, and the trial judge issued a lengthy opinion upholding the plea,” he wrote. “Nevertheless, after public criticism of the prosecution by the president, the department moved to dismiss Flynn’s case, claiming that new evidence showed that the plea had no basis. None of the career prosecutors who handled Flynn’s case signed that motion.”

Kravis flat-out said that Attorney General William Barr abandoned the mission of “equal justice under the law” by giving special treatment to an ally of the President Donald Trump.

“Indeed, the department chose to assign these matters to a special counsel precisely to avoid the appearance of political influence. For the attorney general now to directly intervene to benefit the president’s associates makes this betrayal of the rule of law even more egregious,” Kravis concluded.

The Kravis op-ed came one day after former DOJ acting assistant attorney general Mary McCord wrote an op-ed saying Barr twisted her words to drop the Flynn case.

“The account of my interview in 2017 doesn’t help the department support this conclusion, and it is disingenuous for the department to twist my words to suggest that it does. What the account of my interview describes is a difference of opinion about what to do with the information that Mr. Flynn apparently had lied to the incoming vice president, Mr. Pence, and others in the incoming administration about whether he had discussed the Obama administration’s sanctions against Russia in his calls with Mr. Kislyak,” McCord wrote. “Those apparent lies prompted Mr. Pence and others to convey inaccurate statements about the nature of the conversations in public news conferences and interviews.”

Kravis, a former clerk for Merrick Garland, is now working for the Attorney General’s Office in the District of Columbia. Kravis joined Attorney General Karl Racine’s (D) office as Special Counsel for Public Corruption in April.

Kravis, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in D.C., was one of four Stone prosecutors to swiftly resign from the case after the DOJ decided to intervene and call foul on its own prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation for the convicted long-time Trump confidant. Brandon Van Grack, another former Mueller prosecutor, withdrew from the Flynn case before the DOJ moved to drop it.

Kravis left the DOJ entirely. That was in early February, days after President Trump’s impeachment acquittal. The ensuing outrage from more than 1,000 former DOJ officials who argued that a Trump pal got special treatment, Barr’s damage control interview—which Kravis also criticized in his op-ed—and the Stone juror controversy were all over the news for a week or two before the coronavirus pandemic became the focus of daily life in America.

[Image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.