DOJ Drops Michael Flynn Prosecution

Donald Trump and Michael Flynn (George Frey / Getty)
George Frey / Getty

The Department of Justice is reportedly dropping its prosecution of former National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn (Ret.), according to the Associated Press.

The news comes a week after new evidence released to Flynn’s lawyers showed FBI agents apparently attempting to trap Flynn into lying to them, hoping he would be prosecuted or fired. The evidence also suggested they knew he had not committed a separate crime.

Earlier Thursday, prosecutor Brandon Van Grack withdrew from the case.

Flynn had been director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama but was fired. He then joined Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, shaping its foreign policy and introducing Trump at rallies.

After Trump won, Flynn shaped the national security policies of the incoming administration and was picked to serve as National Security Adviser. In that capacity, he held conversations with foreign officials, including then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak were picked up by wiretaps of the ambassador, and his name was “unmasked” by Obama administration officials in transcripts of the conversations, which were leaked to the Washington Post. At the same time, the Obama Department of Justice investigated Flynn under the Logan Act of 1799, which prevents private citizens from conducting diplomacy but is rarely enforced.

Though the FBI found no evidence of wrongdoing — as shown in documents produced by the FBI to Flynn’s lawyer, Sidney Powell, last week — senior officials kept the case open.

Then-FBI Director James Comey sent FBI agents to meet with Flynn informally at the White House, hoping to trap Flynn into lying about his conversations with Kislyak.

The controversy concerned a question about whether Flynn discussed the Obama administration’s sanctions against Russia for election interference. Flynn allegedly denied doing so, though the transcript suggested that he had.

Flynn resigned from the administration after apparently misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Kislyak.

He was later prosecuted for lying to the FBI, and pleaded guilty, under pressure and on the advice of his former counsel from Covington and Burling LLP. He had to sell his house to pay his legal fees.

At the time, Flynn’s prosecution was seen by Democrats and the media as the foundation for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of supposed “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia.

But Mueller found no evidence of “collusion,” and as evidence began to emerge of misconduct by the FBI and the DOJ, Flynn moved earlier this year to withdraw his guilty plea.

In February, Attorney General William Barr appointed an outside prosecutor, Jeffrey Jensen, to review the DOJ’s case against Flynn. Under closer scrutiny, the FBI released more documents — and the prosecution began to unravel.

The case against Flynn is now over.

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.
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