Sidney Powell, lawyer for former National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Michael Flynn, revealed Tuesday during a final sentencing hearing that she personally asked President Trump not to pardon Flynn.
Powell did not say why she made that request, but it suggests she preferred the court to dismiss Flynn’s case, rather than have the president intervene with a pardon.
The Associated Press reported her request “presumably reflected a defense team desire to have Flynn’s case dropped through the court system and have a judge concur with the Justice Department’s assertion that the prosecution may be abandoned.”
Powell at first did not want to discuss her request, citing executive privilege, but relented to U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan’s questioning.
Mainstream media journalists and analysts suggested that Powell updating the president personally showed how involved Trump was in the case.
Please let this sink in: DOJ lawyers have been arguing all day that Mike Flynn received no special treatment. Then, Flynn’s lawyer, Ms. Powell, said she recently had a personal meeting w/the president, briefed him on Flynn’s case & told Trump not to pardon Flynn! #Favoritism
— Glenn Kirschner (@glennkirschner2) September 29, 2020
Although Flynn initially pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement, he has since requested to withdraw that guilty plea, and the Justice Department in May asked the court to dismiss the case. Sullivan has not only refused the request, but he appointed a retired federal judge to argue on behalf of not dismissing the case.
However, in recent months, more information has come to light casting doubt over the legitimacy of the FBI’s investigation into Flynn.
Last week, the Justice Department released an interview with a former FBI agent, William Barnett, who said the predication for the FBI’s investigation into Flynn was unconvincing and unclear, and that he tried to remove himself from it as he expected it to result in an inspector general investigation.
Barnett also said the investigation was moving towards being closed on January 4, 2017, until then-FBI agent Peter Strzok intervened at the last minute to keep it open, on or around the time of an infamous White House Oval Office meeting with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
Barnett also said he briefed the special counsel team on Flynn’s investigation and said prosecutor and Clinton campaign donor Jeannie Rhee seemed “obsessed” with Flynn and that she had an agenda. After that, he was asked to join the Special Counsel team and said he only did so after being reassured that he would not work with Rhee.
It has also come to light that Strzok’s reason for keeping the investigation into Flynn open was that Flynn had spoken to a Russian ambassador during the transition period after the election, which Biden suggested could be a violation of the Logan Act, an obscure 1799 law that prohibits private citizens from conducting official foreign policy, but it has never been successfully prosecuted.
It has also come to light that FBI Director James Comey had thought that Flynn’s calls with the Russian ambassador were “legitimate,” and that Strzok and FBI agent Joe Pientka did not believe Flynn had lied to them when they questioned him about the conversations during a White House interview on January 24, 2017. Special Counsel Robert Mueller charged Flynn for lying to FBI investigators anyway.