DOJ dropping criminal case against Gen Flynn (UPDATE: DC Cir. dismisses case) (1 Viewer)

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UncleTrvlingJim

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This is a good first step toward a reckoning.
I wouldn't hold your breath. I suspect at most you'll get a report that says the FBI was sloppy and didn't follow procedures, but no recommendations for prosecutions.

I mean if the commitment to proper procedure holds up and you see a meaningful effort to apply it across all of law enforcement, that would be a good thing. But I'm pessimistic about that.
 

TaylorB

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In February when career DOJ prosecutors were quitting over apparent disagreements with Bill Barr about the sentencing recommendations for Roger Stone, I wrote this post explaining why setting Stone up for a pardon was important to Trump. 👇


Michael Flynn became a secret advisor to the Trump campaign in approximately fall 2015, and was a national security advisor to Trump thereafter until being fired in 2017 shortly after the transition. Today, Barr directed the DOJ to dismiss charges against Flynn that he's already pled guilty to, consistent with his pattern of using his influence in the DOJ to protect Trump from those who might harm him the most. Here's more background to explain why Flynn is so important to Trump and Barr to "exonerate":

Flynn was a lieutenant general with the Defense Intelligence Agency until he was ousted in 2014 over concerns about his Russian contacts. In the year before he left the DIA, Flynn asked permission to travel to Russia to visit the GRU, Russia's military unit which was later determined by US Intelligence to be responsible for hacking the DNC and DCCC in 2016. Not long after Flynn's departure from the DIA, Flynn began using his foreign contacts for personal profit. He was paid tens of thousands of dollars by Russian connected companies in 2015, including a 45k fee for speaking at a gala dinner in honor of RT, Russia's state-owned media company, a dinner at which Flynn was seated next to Putin while working as an advisor to both Carson and Trump. He was paid over half a million dollars to secretly lobby for the Turkish government during the 2016 election season, which he failed to disclose (and lied in his disclosures about) until 2017. He was hired as an advisor to a private equity group that controlled NSO Group, a cyber-hacking firm run by Israeli intelligence.

One of Flynn's most ambitious projects -- which happened to overlap with his advisory role to the Trump campaign -- was his secret work with ACU Strategic Partners, and subsequently Iron Bridge, to partner with Russia to build over a dozen nuclear reactors in the middle east. Flynn took multiple trips to Saudi Arabia, as well as trips to Egypt, and Israel in 2015, in connection with these deals, all of which he failed to disclose on his security clearance forms during the transition.

Russia's support for Trump in 2016 was almost certainly based in large part upon its expectation that a Trump administration would lift sanctions imposed by Obama's administration in connection with Putin's illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. Those sanctions, in combination with other international sanctions over Crimea, crippled Russia's economy to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. In December 2016, Obama's administration imposed additional sanctions on Russia, this time in connection with its interference in the 2016 election a month prior. Both of these sanctions regimes precluded Russia's participation in Flynn's nuclear deal involving the Saudis and other nations in the Middle East.

Flynn knew that the only way his lucrative ACU / Iron Bridge nuclear deal would work was with the lifting of sanctions against Russia. Within hours after Obama imposed the election-interference sanctions against Russia in December 2016, Flynn -- who was on vacation in the Dominican Republic at the time -- engaged in several back-and-forth phone calls between the presidential transition team in Mar-a-Lago and Sergei Kislyak. Kislyak was the Russian ambassador Jeff Sessions lied about communicating with, and had met in secret with Flynn with discussions dating back to December 2015. Flynn essentially communicated to Kislyak not to worry about the new sanctions, which Kislyak could only have understood to mean that the Trump admin would lift them as soon as Trump was inaugurated. Kislyak agreed not to engage in a "tit-for-tat" with retaliatory sanctions, and within hours, Trump tweeted about how smart Putin was for not retaliating. Eleven minutes after Trump's inauguration, Flynn texted Alex Copson, the head of the ACU nuclear project, that the deal was "good to go." That night, Copson told a future whistleblower that he expects Trump to "rip up" the sanctions against Russia, allowing the project to go forward.

The FBI apparently knew the contents of Flynn's call with Kislyak about the sanctions, and (correctly) expected him to lie about the call. Flynn certainly knew it was wrong to undercut foreign policy of the sitting Obama administration, and likely knew it was a violation of the Logan Act. Moreover, Flynn could have had concerns that such behavior could be construed as aiding and abetting Russia's election crimes, which he was well aware of at the time he was telling Kislyak what amounted to "don't worry about Russia attacking us, we're good." So predictably, Flynn lied to the FBI when questioned about what he discussed with Kislyak. His deputy, KT McFarland, appears to have lied to the FBI as well.

Flynn ended up pleading guilty to lying to the FBI and/or DOJ about three things pertaining to foreign contacts: (1) whether he discussed sanctions against Russia with Sergei Kislyak; (2) the extent of his discussions with Russia and other countries about a US resolution pertaining to Israeli settlements; and (3) his secret lobbying on behalf of Turkey during the campaign.

Flynn admitted to these lies under the penalty of perjury, not because he was set up by the DOJ, but because he was caught lying. At his first sentencing hearing, Judge Sullivan wondered aloud whether Flynn should have been charged with treason (to be clear, he shouldn't have). It is inconceivable to think Flynn was negotiating the Trump administration's sanctions policy with Russia while communicating with transition officials who were with Trump at Mar-a-Lago without Trump knowing anything about it. Whether or not Trump's knowledge of this would result in any sort of criminally chargeable conspiracy, it would be politically damaging for the public to know that Trump truly was promising to "rip up" sanctions against Russia at a time when they were actively attacking our elections to ensure he became president.

Trump's behavior toward Flynn since his arrest has been predictable in light of the above. He has publicly floated pardons, as he did with Manafort, and had his counsel, John Dowd, call Flynn's attorney to remind him of the president's "feelings toward Flynn," while expressing concern that Flynn might have information that could implicate the president.

Despite the Twitter troll accounts using three stars in their profiles to demonstrate their support for Flynn, whom they describe as a "patriot," and Trump defenders' efforts to make him into a martyr, Flynn is far from being a patriot or a martyr. He's been selling American foreign policy for personal gain since his disgraceful exit from our military. He was willing to secretly extradite a US resident to Turkey, write an op-ed praising Erdogan without disclosing himself as a lobbyist, rip up sanctions against an enemy attacking our elections, and provide nuclear technology to countries with whom the US does not have counterproliferation agreements, like Saudi Arabia, all for personal profit at the expense of US foreign policy.

Like Flynn's career as an international grifter, the DOJ dropping Flynn's prosecution has no basis in furthering the interests of the US. As I'm writing this, NYT is reporting that Trump was preparing to pardon Flynn as recently as last week. Barr's goal in dismissing the case is clear: to protect Trump from legal exposure. We should expect this behavior to continue as long as Trump is POTUS and Barr is AG.
 
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BobE

BobE

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GRU, Russia's military unit which was later determined by US Intelligence to be responsible for hacking the DNC and DCCC in 2016.
I'm curious with this part for the moment. Did the US intelligence come to this conclusion by investigating everything themselves or did they rely on a report from the DNC and DCCC?
 

TaylorB

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I'm curious with this part for the moment. Did the US intelligence come to this conclusion by investigating everything themselves or did they rely on a report from the DNC and DCCC?
Its US intel. It’s all over the Mueller report if I remember correctly. DNC concluded it was Russia almost immediately but at a minimum Trump was told this in intel briefings by August 2016.
 

TaylorB

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Barr should be impeached! Can this case be re-opened by the next justice department?
I doubt it, but Flynn is likely exposed beyond the facts of this case. It’s never been entirely clear why he got off so easy with the special counsel. The Stone warrants show that the government is still interested in Flynn regarding Israeli interference, to name one of many possible angles.
 

J-DONK

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Do you believe Flynn to be innocent of the crimes to which he plead guilty?
Let's not forget the judge in the case questioned if he couldn't be charged with treason.


The amount of my glad-handing is this thread because it's your "team" is sad, but not surprising.
 

The moose

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Trump better win.

The statute of limitations is up after the election.

It would take seconds for the charges to be back with a new administration.

I t is shooting fish in a barrel with the guilty plea.

If trump had a pair he would have just let it go thru and pardon him. You know fix the problem.

But I guess this pandemic shows us that he completely lacks a pair enough to take the bull by the horns and fix something. During the campaign he bragged about his manhood yet acts like he is hung like a peanut.
 

Richard

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Can this case be re-opened by the next justice department?
It is my understanding that it has yet to be determined. If the judge dismisses the case "with prejudice," then it's over. But if he does not, then the justice department could bring new charges against Flynn. I could be wrong about that. I'm not an attorney and I don't play one on TV.
 

wardorican

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Interesting. This is the first I'm reading of this. I'm only going off the AP article.

So, it begs the question, right? Was the FBI really in the wrong with their initial questioning and this should have never started? Or is Barr using his power to force the department to drop the case, because the Judge disagreed with the Defense council's argument, which now the DOJ is allegedly also in believe of.

This is wild, right? The prosecutors are seemingly agreeing with the defense, only after the judge didn't agree? Am I reading this correctly?

It could be the right thing to do. It could be pure politics. I didn't look at the new documents.

In court documents filed Thursday, the Justice Department said that after reviewing newly disclosed information and other materials, it agreed with Flynn’s lawyers that his interview with the FBI should never have taken place because his contacts with the Russian ambassador were “entirely appropriate.”

The U.S. attorney reviewing the Flynn case, Jeff Jensen, formally recommended dropping it to Barr last week, the course of action publicly recommended by Trump, who appointed Barr to head the Justice Department.

Barr has increasingly challenged the federal Trump-Russia investigation, saying in an interview last month that it was started “without any basis.” In February, he overruled a decision by prosecutors in the case of Roger Stone, a longtime Trump friend and adviser, in favor of a more lenient recommended sentence.

Jensen said in a statement that he “briefed Attorney General Barr on my findings, advised him on these conclusions, and he agreed.”

The department’s action comes amid an internal review into the handling of the case and an aggressive effort by Flynn’s lawyers to challenge the basis for the prosecution. The lawyers cited newly disclosed FBI emails and notes last week to allege that Flynn was improperly trapped into lying when agents interviewed him days after Trump’s inauguration.

None of the documents appeared to undercut the central allegation that Flynn had misled the FBI.

In recent months, Flynn’s attorneys have leveled allegations about the FBI’s actions and asked to withdraw his guilty plea. A judge has rejected most of the claims and not ruled on others, including the bid to revoke the plea.
 

wardorican

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LOL the left got their marching orders out pretty quickly.
I just looked on google. There isn't a single article out there calling for his impeachment over this.

The best you can find, is from Jan/Feb that a few politicians were calling for him to resign or consider impeachment for meddling in various investigations, especially regarding Trump. I honestly, have no idea what level of sway he should have. I'm sure there is considerable.

Warren was mostly talking about congress defunding any investigations he's personally getting involved in. Not sure if that's appropriate or not either.

Anyway, I'm not seeing any marching orders.
 

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