The Department of Justice filed a motion Thursday to drop charges against former National Security Advisor (NSA) Michael Flynn. Democrats and the media claim the decision was the result of “politicization” at the DOJ.
But there was no way for the DOJ to proceed after several bombshell revelations in the past several days. Here are seven things you need to know about the new developments — and what happens next in the saga:
1. New documents suggest the FBI laid a trap for Flynn. In February, Attorney General William Barr appointed U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Jensen to review the prosecution against Flynn after reports of irregularities. Last week, Jensen delivered a trove of documents to Flynn’s defense team — including handwritten notes showing FBI agents discussed whether they would “get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired.” In addition, emails showed the FBI had not properly warned Flynn that lying to the FBI was a crime when they met with him in the White House — a meeting then-Director James Comey planned to catch Flynn off guard.
2. Text messages showed the FBI leadership kept the case open: Jensen’s trove included a memorandum showing that the FBI wanted to close the case against Flynn on Jan. 4, 2017, but that agent Peter Strzok — who hated Trump and had led the troubled investigations into both Hillary Clinton and the Trump campaign — ordered that the case be kept open. When asked why, Strzok referred to the “7th floor,” i.e. the FBI leadership.
3. Flynn’s former law firm handed over documents suggesting secret pressure from the DOJ. Covington and Burling LLP, the legal team that handled his guilty plea in 2017, “discovered” that they had not handed all their documents to his new lawyer, Sidney Powell. Powell then told the court that the new documents showed the DOJ had threatened to indict his son unless Flynn pleaded guilty — a “side deal” that the DOJ kept hidden.
4. President Barack Obama set the Flynn investigation in motion: The House Intelligence Committee released 53 transcripts of interviews it conducted in the early days of the “Russia collusion” investigation. Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates told the committee it was Obama himself who told her about Flynn’s phone calls with the Russian ambassador. That information led the DOJ to investigate him under the obscure Logan Act of 1799, which bars private citizens from diplomacy and is almost never enforced.
What comes next:
5. Flynn could go free for now, but could be prosecuted for perjury if Joe Biden wins the election. Sol Wisenberg, who helped investigate President Bill Clinton, pointed out on Fox News that Flynn could still be prosecuted for perjury, since he told the court he was guilty before deciding to withdraw his plea. Wisenberg said that a Biden administration could pursue those charges — unless President Trump pardoned Flynn.
6. What did Obama know? What did Biden know? The crucial event behind the investigation of Flynn and the public smearing of President-elect Trump through the “Steele dossier” now appears to be the Oval Office meeting where Obama told Yates about Flynn’s phone calls, and Comey was assigned to inform Trump about the dossier. Biden was among those present, and the Trump campaign has started to demand answers. Obama’s role now appears much more direct, and may not have been “by the book,” as former NSA Susan Rice claimed.
7. Possible indictment of former Obama officials. U.S. Attorney John Durham is still pursuing a criminal investigation into the origins of the Obama administration’s inquiry into the Trump campaign. Many believe indictments are imminent. Powell told Breitbart News Sunday last weekend that Comey and other officials may have committed obstruction of justice and similar crimes, though she did not echo Trump’s claims of treason.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.