On May 7, the Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss the case against former Trump national security adviser retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn — “one of the signature cases brought by special counsel Robert Mueller,” as The Associated Press put it — “after a considered review of all the facts and circumstances of this case, including newly discovered and disclosed information.” Among that newly disclosed information was evidence that the interview upon which the case was built was a “perjury trap,” as Attorney General William Barr has described it.
But the federal judge overseeing the case, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, has refused to accept the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss the case, tabling the motion and instead opening the case up for amicus briefs from interested parties — a move blasted by Flynn’s legal team as a “travesty of justice.” Among those invited to file amicus briefs is the legal team that Flynn fired and who has since been accused by his new attorneys as advising him while in “the grip of intractable conflicts of interest.”
But, as reported by CBS News investigative correspondent Catherine Herridge, Judge Sullivan’s opening up of the case has also drawn responses from over a dozen attorneys general who have signed an amicus brief calling on the judge to support the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss without commentary “because such punditry disrobes the judiciary of its cloak of impartiality.”
Attorneys general from 15 states — Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and West Virginia — filed the briefing to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Monday “in support of the United States” and arguing that “the Court lacks authority to exercise judgement over a decision that constitutionally belongs to the executive branch.”
#FLYNN 12+ State Attorneys General led by Ohio AG Dave Yost file amicus brief in support DOJ’s motion to dismiss without commentary, “because such punditry disrobes the judiciary of its cloak of impartiality.” @CBSNews @ClareHymes22 pic.twitter.com/WFpudP0T0K
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) May 18, 2020
The argument of the attorneys general aligns with arguments made by Flynn’s legal team, which has called for the immediate dismissal of the case.
“This travesty of justice has already consumed three or more years of an innocent man’s life — and that of his entire family. No further delay should be tolerated or any further expense caused to him and his defense,” Flynn attorney Sydney Powell wrote in a court filing responding to Sullivan’s decision to shelve the Justice Department’s motion and reopen the case. “This Court should enter the order proposed by the government immediately.”
In the filing, Powell, who Flynn acquired after dismissing his initial legal team, which advised him to plead guilty to lying to the FBI, pointed out that “this Court has consistently — on twenty-four (24) previous occasions — summarily refused to permit any third party to inject themselves or their views into this case.”
Attorney General Barr has made clear where the Justice Department stands on the case, calling for the dismissal of the case and condemning the charges against Flynn as being the result of a “perjury trap” laid by James Comey’s FBI.
In an interview with CBS News on May 7, Barr explained the DOJ’s rationale. “It’s on the question of materiality that we feel really that a crime cannot be established here because there was not, in our view, a legitimate investigation going on,” he said. “They did not have a basis for a counterintelligence investigation against Flynn at that stage, based on a perfectly legitimate and appropriate call he made as a member of the transition.”
Asked by Herridge if “the counterintelligence case against General Flynn was simply left open to lay a trap for lying,” Barr said, “Yes.”
“I think a very important evidence here was that this was not a bona fide counterintelligence investigation – was that they were closing the investigation in December,” he explained. “They started that process. And on January 4th, they were closing it. They initially tried some theories of how they could open another investigation, which didn’t fly. And then they found out that they had not technically closed the earlier investigation. And they kept it open for the express purpose of trying to catch, lay a perjury trap for General Flynn.”
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