Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, departs a federal courthouse after a hearing, Monday, June 24, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

A former U.S. Court of Appeals judge filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief criticizing the Department of Justice’s handling of the case against Michael Flynn. Former judge John Gleeson submitted an 85-page brief where he criticizes the DOJ’s decision to dismiss Flynn’s charges, pointing to “gross abuse of prosecutorial power by a government engaged in highly irregular conduct to benefit a political ally of the President.” 

Attorney General William Barr condemned this action, saying “…it’s always been understood that decisions, whether to pursue an individual through the prosecution process or holding them criminally accountable, is vested in the executive branch and not the courts.” This is the latest move in an over three-year-saga centered on the 2016 election and alleged Russian intervention. 

Michael Flynn pled guilty to charges of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in a Jan. 2017, during an FBI interview about a phone call with the Russian Ambassador the month prior. In January 2020, Flynn asked to withdraw his original guilty plea and the DOJ dropped the charges in early May. On May 29, the Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe released the transcripts from the call in question to two Senators who made the records public.

Both Republicans and Democrats are accusing the other of weaponizing branches of the government for political gain. Republicans accused former President Obama of encouraging the FBI to investigate Flynn despite the FBI’s doubts that the phone call in question including anything “criminal or even improper.” Last Wednesday, Republican Senators voted to allow the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chairman to issue subpoenas for further investigation into Obama administration officials regarding Flynn and the origins of the Russia investigation. Democrats now fear the “rule of law is at risk” because of the use of the DOJ for possible political gain in the upcoming presidential election.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Sen. Cruz: ‘The Obama Administration Targeted President Trump by Weaponizing and Politicizing the DOJ, FBI, and the Intelligence Community’ – Texas Insider – 6/4/2020
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, today questioned former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein at a full committee hearing examining the abuse of power committed by the Obama administration in 2016 and 2017 to weaponize the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the intelligence community against President Trump’s campaign and incoming administration.

The facts on Michael Flynn, the FBI, and Bill Barr’s bombshell – Axios – 6/10/2020
Trump’s allies view Attorney General Bill Barr’s move to withdraw charges against Flynn as the first major step in exposing the Russia investigation as a political hit job. Democrats, most notably Barack Obama, fear Barr is weaponizing the Justice Department ahead of an election. The story starts in the final days of 2016, with a call between Flynn — then the incoming national security adviser — and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Michael Flynn case continues DOJ’s dismantling of Robert Mueller’s investigation ‘brick by brick’ – USA Today – 5/8/2020
Justice’s latest decision to abandon the prosecution of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, analysts said, adds yet a new chapter to the steady dismantling of Mueller’s work that had long threatened Trump’s presidency, while exposing Barr, yet again, to fresh recriminations of fueling a continuing politicization of Justice as a powerful annex of the White House.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

David Asman on Twitter, 6/11/2020: What happens when both the prosecution and the defense wants to drop a case…and the judge says no? Talk about politics infecting justice…from beginning to end this case reeks of it.

The Atlantic on Twitter, 6/11/2020: “[Judge] Sullivan’s effort to protect the integrity of the prosecution is an important reminder that prosecution is an executive function, but it’s a judicial one too,” @petermshane writes

Jeremy Herb on Twitter, 6/11/2020: In new filing, Judiciary Dems urge Judge Sullivan to hold hearings on DOJ changing course on Flynn, per @kpolantz: “The facts currently available to the public, the Committee, and this Court evoke corruption…It is the role of this Court to bring that truth to light.”

Jorge Luis Lopez Esq on Twitter, 6/11/2020: #Breaking Flynn brief says judge ‘exceeded’ power in not dismissing case: ‘This Court should order the umpire to leave the field’ https://t.co/WUNOXzrJa2 #News #Report via #FoxNews #Politics

Kevin Corke  on Twitter, 6/11/2020: #NEW US Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments tomorrow June 12 on DOJ motion to dismiss charges against #MichaelFlynn, a move Judge #Sullivan has so far resisted.   Issue: Judiciary discretion to delay, deny, or question prosecution decision to continue case. Per Bill Mears

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