Last week, the Attorney General of the U.S, William Barr sabotaged the rule of law for the second time in less than four months.
The Department of Justice's request to drop the charges against General Michael Flynn is a corrupt political act. It proves beyond and to the exclusion of any reasonable doubt that the Department of Justice has now become a lap dog for Donald Trump.
The Department of Justice has no right to overturn the guilty plea General Flynn entered two years ago. An independent special prosecutor, outside the supervision or control of anyone in the Department of Justice secured that plea. The Attorney General has allowed his personal views to compromise his professional responsibilities.
The very reason Robert Mueller was appointed was to ensure that no one employed at the Department of Justice would have any influence over that investigation, or its outcome. Mr. Barr wants to rewrite the rules after the game has been played.
The interference with Flynn’s sentencing is the second time in less than four months that Barr has corruptly used his office today to undermine Mueller's lawful investigations. The first time was when he tried to undercut the sentencing recommendations made by the Mueller prosecutors in the case against Roger Stone two months ago.
Barr had no such authority or right to do so. It wasn't his case or call. It was handled by the independent prosecutor, and they were the only ones who should have been involved in the sentencing process.
Barr’s last-minute pleadings to lower the sentence on Stone, or alter the outcome with Flynn are improper and indefensible. But Trump had tweeted, and when a master calls, a lap dog listens.
Last week, William Barr meddled improperly in sentencing once again, this time going as far as asserting the FBI “never should have been investigating General Flynn."
Barr has concluded that anything Flynn said to the FBI "was the result of an unlawful inquiry." While that may be his opinion, he was not the umpire calling that game. It is not his call. He has no right now to decide whether anything the FBI did was right or wrong.
The investigation by the special prosecutor's office ultimately concluded with a guilty plea by General Flynn. He admitted to knowingly lying to FBI agents who were lawfully investigating Russian collusion into the election of 2016.
The FBI rang a doorbell at the General’s home, and told him they had some questions which needed some answers. They wanted to know about some questionable conversations Flynn had with a Russian ambassador.
The General was no spring chicken. As the former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, he knew that lying to the FBI was a crime. He did it anyway. Robert Mueller prosecuted him for it. Flynn pled guilty. That should be the end of the story.
Donald Trump, however, was personally embarrassed by the arrest.
First, it reflected badly on his new appointment. Remember, he was only going to find “the best of the best.”
Second, Trump felt his friend Flynn was set up by “Obama’s FBI.” At the time, the president had no power over Mueller’s inquiry. But that was then and this is now.
Today, Mueller and his team are no longer in business. Along comes William Barr, and today Trump has a tool to carry out his treason. No longer checked by Robert Mueller, Barr last week asked the court that was getting ready to sentence General Flynn to dismiss all the charges against him instead. It is corruption of the highest order.
On the same day that the number of American deaths from the coronavirus topped 65,000, Trump declared for the umpteenth time that the Mueller investigation was a “hoax,” and that Flynn, who had even lied to the Vice President, was a “hero.” The world is upside down at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The case will be going before Judge Emmet G. Sullivan relatively soon. There are two possible outcomes, but neither will stop Michael Flynn from going free.
If Judge Sullivan grants the Justice Department’s motion by Attorney General Barr, the prosecution will be dropped, and Flynn will walk away from everything, “exonerated” legally.
On the other hand, Judge Sullivan has the discretion to refuse to let Flynn withdraw his plea. If he does that, and sets a sentencing date for Flynn, or orders him to jail, the jurist has a chance to be an American profile in courage.
If Judge Sullivan does deny Barr’s illegitimate request to drop the charges, President Trump will be forced to pardon him instead. Flynn will then simply be another crook walking barefoot on Trump’s broken highway of lies.
For the sake of the American justice system, and what is left of it after three years with Trump in the White House, let’s hope Judge Sullivan stands his ground.
If Flynn is to go free, force the president to pardon the liar. Let him appeal the ruling, sadly to a coterie of incompetent judges who Trump has poisoned the judiciary with, these past few years. We will live with that forever.
Winning. I am so tired of all the winning. November 3 can’t come soon enough.
The publisher of the South Florida Gay News, Norm Kent has been a criminal defense and constitutional rights attorney for the past 45 years.