U.S. Attorney General (AG) William Barr has installed a federal prosecutor to review the criminal case leveled against retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, the New York Times reported Friday.
Barr appointed a prosecutor from outside the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington to handle the Flynn case.
Citing people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Times revealed:
Mr. Barr has also installed a handful of outside prosecutors to broadly review the handling of other politically sensitive national-security cases in the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, the people said.
The team includes at least one prosecutor from the office of the United States attorney in St. Louis, Jeff Jensen, who is handling the Flynn matter, as well as prosecutors from the office of the deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen.
Over the past two weeks, the outside prosecutors have begun grilling line prosecutors in the Washington office about various cases — some public, some not — including investigative steps, prosecutorial actions and why they took them, according to the people.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reportedly refused to comment on the Times’ findings.
According to the newspaper, “The review is highly unusual and could trigger more accusations of political interference by top Justice Department officials into the work of career prosecutors.”
Barr’s decision to appoint a prosecutor to scrutinize the Flynn case seemingly comes after the DOJ inspector general (IG), on December 9, exposed a string of abuses by the FBI in obtaining Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) wiretaps on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The wiretaps were part of the Russia collusion hoax probe by special counsel Robert Mueller.
DOJ IG Michael Horowitz issued a report highlighting the wiretap abuses. Horowitz’s much-anticipated report looked into the origins of the Russia collusion conspiracy investigation.
The Mueller investigation led to Flynn’s conviction for allegedly lying to the FBI. In the wake of the IG report’s revelations, Flynn’s defense lawyer has officially requested to withdraw the retired general’s guilty plea on lying to the FBI and have the case dismissed.
Flynn’s defense attorney, Sidney Powell, is citing Horowitz’s findings in new court filings, asserting that the revelations provide added proof that the FBI deceived her client.
This week, however, the Washington Examiner reported that DOJ prosecutors rejected claims by retired Flynn’s lawyers that the Horowitz report contained evidence that would justify dismissing the case against Trump’s former adviser.
“Flynn filed to withdraw his guilty plea in January after the DOJ asked Judge Emmet Sullivan to sentence Flynn to up to six months in prison, though the Justice Department now says it believes probation would also be an appropriate punishment,” the Examiner pointed out.