Remember that DoJ dropping charges against Flynn is being done in the context of a diversion and a pandemic. There are Mueller investigation files being unsealed.
With imminent release of #RussiaTranscripts
Fox News is already spinning it as raising doubts about @RepAdamSchiff saying there was evidence of collusion.
So, here's a reminder:
Mueller Report found LOTS of evidence of collusion.
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) May 7, 2020
The Trump administration has asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block House Democrats from getting access to confidential materials from Robert Mueller's investigation. https://t.co/gCRPRseKQb
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 7, 2020
While Special Counsel Mueller found insufficient evidence to prove the crime of criminal conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt, he refused to draw any conclusion on the issue of collusion — contrary to false representations made by Attorney General Bill Barr and others. There is ample evidence of the corrupt interactions between the Trump campaign and Russia, both direct and circumstantial, in the record:
- In June of 2016, a Russian delegation offered dirt on Donald Trump’s rival—presidential candidate Hillary Clinton—to the highest levels of the Trump campaign, and did so in writing. Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., accepted that offer, and then set up a secret meeting between the Russian delegation, himself, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to discuss that illicit help. When news of the meeting was about to break, Trump and his son drafted a false statement for the press together in order to cover up the true purpose of the meeting. This written offer of illegal help by the Russians and its acceptance by the President’s campaign, and the secret meeting that followed, provide some of the most damning and direct evidence of the President’s to make use of Russia’s assistance in the election.
- Throughout the summer of 2016, the Trump campaign and candidate Trump himself repeatedly sought damaging information on Clinton from Russia. In July of 2016, Trump publicly called on Russia to hack Clinton’s emails, and – as the Special Counsel found – that night, Russian military intelligence officers did precisely that. Our transcripts show that numerous individuals affiliated with or working for the Trump campaign were in communication with individuals offering help to set up private backchannels with the Russian government.
- Multiple witnesses sought to hide and cover up illicit activity related to Russia during the presidential campaign. One-time campaign advisor and close confidant to Trump, Roger Stone, has been sentenced to prison for lying to the Committee about his advanced knowledge of impending WikiLeaks releases of Clinton campaign information. Former personal attorney to Trump, Michael Cohen, was imprisoned in part on charges that he lied to the Committee about Trump’s role in arranging a lucrative business deal in Russia during the course of his campaign and early presidency. The President’s pursuit of Trump Tower Moscow — potentially the most lucrative deal of his life — while lying to the American people about his business interests in Russia, provided the most serious counterintelligence risk to the United States.
- Another associate of Trump, Erik Prince, misled our Committee about his efforts to take part in a secret backchannel with a senior Russian government official while he was unofficially supporting the Trump campaign.
- And the transcripts also show that during the transition period in late 2016, the incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn undertook efforts to undermine U.S. sanctions on Russia imposed by the previous administration over Russia’s interference in the election on Trump’s behalf. Flynn would later lie to the FBI about these efforts, and the President would try to pressure then-FBI Director Comey to shut down any investigation into Flynn. It would take the firing of then Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the later appointment of an unscrupulous Attorney General, Bill Barr, for the President to achieve his aim of seeking dismissal of the case against Flynn, and only after Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI.
Despite taking part in this investigation and hearing these facts first-hand, the transcripts reveal how House Republicans used witness interviews not to gain the facts, but to press President Trump’s false narrative of ‘no collusion, no obstruction.’ It would be a pattern they would follow throughout the Russia investigation and into the President’s subsequent Ukraine misconduct. To that end, House Republicans sought to use the Committee’s Russia investigation to undermine the Intelligence Community’s assessment that Russia sought to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. That assessment has been affirmed by this Committee’s Democrats, the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee, and Special Counsel Mueller.
So a literal foreign agent takes a job as national security advisor, doesn't reveal it, and gets cleared by DOJ after a pressure campaign from the President? Banana republic shit.
— Tim Miller (@Timodc) May 7, 2020
“He’s in the process of being exonerated” — Trump
Barr makes it clear here that he personally intervened in the Flynn case to have it dropped. (Remember when Barr pretended he was thinking of resigning over Trump's comments about Stone? Barr seems to have gotten past that.) https://t.co/XJpuaJM06t
— Dan Friedman (@dfriedman33) May 7, 2020
In an extraordinary departure from the Justice Department’s typical handling of criminal cases, the Donald Trump-appointed leadership of the Justice Department on Thursday dropped charges against Michael Flynn, the former White House national security adviser who previously pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia.
In a court filing, Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney Timothy Shea said that even if Flynn lied about his contact with the Russian ambassador to the United States ahead of Trump’s 2017 inauguration, that Flynn’s lies were irrelevant to the FBI’s counterintelligence probe into his communications with Russia.
It is highly unusual for the Justice Department to seek to undo a guilty plea, and comes just months after Attorney General William P. Barr pressed prosecutors in another of Mueller’s cases to soften their sentencing recommendation for the president’s friend and former political adviser Roger Stone.
Barr in January directed the U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen of St. Louis to review the case’s handling by the federal prosecutor’s office in Washington, which took over Mueller cases last year, and Jensen made the final recommendation.
“Through the course of my review of General Flynn’s case, I concluded the proper and just course was to dismiss the case,” Jensen said in a statement. “I briefed Attorney General Barr on my findings, advised him on these conclusions, and he agreed.”
The retreat could be a political windfall for Trump, who last month announced on Twitter that he was “strongly considering a Full Pardon” for Flynn, whom Trump removed just weeks into the new administration. The Justice Department’s decision also means that the president won’t have to become personally involved in the Flynn case to get the outcome he desired.
The move is likely to intensify concerns within and outside the Justice Department that Barr and its politically appointed leadership is intervening in sensitive cases to help the president’s friends and political allies.
The filing came one day before a Justice Department deadline to answer defense allegations of misconduct prompted by the Barr-ordered review, and coincided with the withdrawal from the case of its lead prosecutor, veteran national security prosecutor Brandon L. Van Grack.
NEW: Trump said he discussed the Russia investigation in a phone call with Vladimir Putin on Thursday, calling the probe a “hoax.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if you see a lot of things happen over the next number of weeks,” Trump told Putin.https://t.co/TIoDOqneIu
— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) May 7, 2020