The Week (US)

Flynn: Why Barr wants to drop all charges

- Crime · U.S. News · US Politics · White-collar Crime · Politics · Law · New York City · William P. Barr · Michael T. Flynn · Donald Trump · Russia · Washington · FBI · Philippines Department of Justice · United States Department of Justice · Robert Mueller · Government of Russia · Barack Obama · U.S. government · Turkey · Roger Stone · Paul J. Manafort · Joe Biden · Law Enforcement · Neal Katyal · David Ignatius · David de Burgh Graham · David Frum · Wikileaks

Pros­e­cu­tors and crim­i­nal lawyers “are hard to re­ally shock,” said Neal Katyal and Joshua Geltzer in The New York Times. But when At­tor­ney Gen­eral Wil­liam Barr last week moved to drop all charges against Gen. Michael Flynn, Pres­i­dent Trump’s dis­graced for­mer na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser, he left the law en­force­ment com­mu­nity in a state of out­rage and “ut­ter de­mor­al­iza­tion.” In a le­gal mo­tion so tor­tured no ca­reer pros­e­cu­tors would sign their names to it, Barr in­formed the judge over­see­ing Flynn’s case that even though Flynn twice pleaded guilty to ly­ing to the FBI, his covert con­tacts with Rus­sia in 2016 were not “ma­te­rial” to an FBI coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the Trump team’s covert con­tacts with Rus­sia. That claim is “ab­surd on its face,” said Ran­dall Elia­son in The Wash­ing­ton Post. The FBI was prob­ing whether the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion was promis­ing to ease sanc­tions “as a quid pro quo for Rus­sian as­sis­tance dur­ing the elec­tion”—a ques­tion that re­mains open. Barr’s bla­tantly par­ti­san in­ter­ven­tion in this case has prompted 2,000 for­mer Jus­tice Depart­ment of­fi­cials to sign a let­ter call­ing for his res­ig­na­tion, and Judge Em­met Sul­li­van to take the un­usual step of solic­it­ing briefs from out­side par­ties be­fore he rules on Barr’s mo­tion to let Flynn walk.

Ac­tu­ally, “this was the right call” by Barr, said James Gagliano in Wash­ing­tonEx­am­iner.com. Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017, at the height of the “Rus­si­a­gate” hys­te­ria, af­ter spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller threat­ened not only him but also his son with a slew of ar­cane for­eign-lob­by­ing charges. Since then there has been “dis­clo­sure af­ter damn­ing dis­clo­sure” about the sor­did ori­gins of the Rus­sia probe, in­clud­ing hand­writ­ten notes by FBI agents schem­ing to “get [Flynn] to lie, so we can pros­e­cute him or get him fired.” Yes, Flynn lied, said Dan McLaugh­lin in Na­tion­alRe­view.com, but

“ev­ery­one knows such cases are of­ten not pur­sued” when the de­fen­dant isn’t charged with any un­der­ly­ing crime. Flynn’s prose­cu­tion was “a per­fect storm of over­reach,” and Barr made “the right judg­ment.”

The FBI did make “se­ri­ous mis­takes” at the out­set of the Rus­sia probe, said David Ig­natius in The Wash­ing­ton Post. But it was jus­ti­fied in prob­ing why Flynn as­sured the Krem­lin that Trump would “re­view” the sanc­tions the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion had just im­posed on Rus­sia for elec­tion med­dling in Trump’s be­half. And why did he try to cover that up? Flynn also “lied re­peat­edly” about hav­ing taken $500,000 from the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment to fur­ther its in­ter­ests in Wash­ing­ton, said David Gra­ham in TheAt­lantic.com. These lies made Flynn vul­ner­a­ble to black­mail. This rogue ac­tor “had no busi­ness get­ting any­where near the sen­si­tive job of na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser.”

Flynn’s se­crets are Trump’s se­crets, said David Frum in TheAt­lantic .com. He and Trump cronies Roger Stone and Paul Manafort likely know the full story of the Trump cam­paign’s many con­tacts with Wik­iLeaks, Rus­sian hack­ers, and Rus­sia. Barr has in­ter­vened to shield all three men from the full weight of jus­tice, with the clear goal of keep­ing “Trump’s se­crets buried as deep as he can, for as long as he can.” Barr won’t stop there, said for­mer FBI agent Frank Figli­uzzi in NBCNews.com. He al­ready is run­ning a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials who launched the Rus­sia probe, and Trump’s “Oba­m­a­gate” tweets this week sig­nal a switch from de­fense to of­fense. Pres­i­dent Obama and then–Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, Trump al­lies say, at­tended a meet­ing where Flynn’s call to the Rus­sian am­bas­sador was dis­cussed. To see what’s com­ing next, “we don’t need a crys­tal ball.”

 ??  ?? Flynn: En­trapped?
Flynn: En­trapped?

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