The Mike Flynn Fix Is in, But the Court Proceedings Still Matter. Here’s Why.
Saul Loeb / Getty
The Michael Flynn case takes place like a film noir: we know the crime and we know that the criminal gets away from the start, and we observe how things ended up there.
If Bill Barr's Department of Justice is unable to convince a jury to force Flynn's trial judge Emmet Sullivan to withdraw Flynn's previously admitted guilty verdict, and that Sullivan has accepted this, Trump will only apologize to his former National Security Advisor. Flynn gets off the hook in one way or another.
The question is whether Barr's crew has to explain why they let an admittedly guilty man go.
William Barr's sham case for jamming Hillary Clinton and Springing Michael Flynn, no questions asked
On Friday, the Department of Justice lawyers argued before a federal appeals court that they did not look at the former federal judge John Gleeson, who was appointed by Sullivan to argue for the position the Department of Justice had given when they said it was against the conviction received from Robery Mueller - calling the Trump administration's reversal a "gross abuse of law enforcement violence" and "an unconvincing effort to disguise a decision to release as legitimate based solely on the fact that Flynn is a political ally of President Trump is ".
Trump's former national security advisor's guilt for the crime of making materially false statements to the FBI after the 2016 elections regarding its communication with the Russian ambassador has only become clearer. Flynn admitted his guilt under oath a long time ago; in fact, he did it twice. However, the government recently and late published transcripts of the talks in question to confirm that Flynn signaled that the incoming Trump administration was planning to spare the Putin regime, although Russian interference in the presidential race was publicly known in Trump's name by then was given.
However, long after the court accepted Flynn's confession of guilt, the DOJ filed a motion to dismiss the case entirely. In support, the government submitted an extremely insincere statement in which it claimed that Flynn was innocent based on allegations that contradicted the arguments and allegations that the government had made over the years. The government has also more than suggested, based on the weakest evidence, that Flynn had been the victim of misconduct by the FBI and possibly Mueller's team.
According to the simple provisions of the relevant rule, the DOJ's motion for discharge must be approved by the court. To this end, Sullivan appointed Gleeson to provide the court with the arguments available against the application (since neither party did so) and announced its intention to hold a hearing on the application.
However, the DOJ would have none of this; Instead, Barr's team backed Flynn's petition for the DC Court of Appeal to issue a "mandamus letter" instructing Sullivan to grant the DOJ release request without any review or deliberation, and indeed without asking how and why Barr rejected the work of his own department's prosecutors.
During Friday's dispute, Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson summed it up by asking Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Wall what prejudice or harm Flynn (who remains on bail) or the government could suffer from Sullivan's ability to rule the government DOJ's application. This question is critical since a Mandamus document is only correct if the petitioner lacks an adequate legal remedy before the court. Here, where Sullivan has not even decided on the application, it is not the right way to simply "follow the order and allow Judge Sullivan to do so," Henderson asked.
In response, Wall acknowledged what was really at stake for Barr and especially Trump: the risk of public embarrassment. According to Wall, hearing the DOJ's request would be "spectacle" and could jeopardize the "integrity" of the "executive", which means Trump's presidency. That may be true, but for reasons that should prompt the Court of Appeal to reject Flynn's petition.
As Gleeson demonstrates in his letter, the public record raises serious questions of misconduct, not from the FBI agents and prosecutors who brought the case against Flynn, but from Trump's Consigliere Barr. Gleeson disassembles the government's application for release, showing that it is based on fake legal and factual arguments and is infected with overt and notorious evidence of prosecutorial abuse.
Evidence includes Trump's repeated statement of intent to manipulate the judicial system in favor of his friend, whom the president calls the first victim of the huge "Obamagate" fraud. After Barr's embarrassing effort to force prosecutors to lower Stone's sentencing recommendation, Barr himself admitted that Trump's "public statements and tweets" on pending cases "make it impossible to do mine and the courts and prosecutors in the Department to ensure that we do our job with integrity. "
The hearing on Friday made it clear that the DOJ's motion for release has almost nothing to do with Flynn's fate, which the president could easily save from prison through a pardon. Indeed, the very important question is whether Sullivan will ultimately have the discretion to refuse the application in any event.
Rather, the extraordinary application is about Barr's efforts to use the court system as a theater to advance Trump's conspiracy theory in the months leading up to the elections - without the hassle of interference from a judge who wishes to shed light on the motive and purpose the government.
During Friday's appeal dispute, Judge Robert Wilkins proposed a hypothesis that was particularly true. What, Wilkins asked, when the DOJ decided to end civil rights proceedings against a white policeman accused of beating an African American because he was convinced that a pure white jury would not convict him - but without the actual reasons for it to disclose the dismissal request to the court. Would it be inappropriate for the court to investigate and ultimately uncover the real reasons for government action? Regardless of whether the court ultimately granted the application, wouldn't public interest be served by public disclosure of the government's motive and purpose?
Wall said the answer to each of these questions was no, an answer that, for obvious reasons, did not seem to please the judge.
The same questions apply with the same force to the Flynn case. If the DOJ has become a corrupt president's household and drops charges against a twice-admitted criminal, not because the case was flawed, but because he's Trump's type, the nation should know and before the election, regardless of whether Flynn runs around freely.
The end of this film will really be November.
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