Appeals Court Says ‘No’ To Dismissing Case Against Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn (photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

A federal appeals court has denied a request by Michael Flynn and the Department of Justice to shut down the investigation against him.

From CNN:

The 8-2 decision restores power to a judge to question the Justice Department’s moves in the politically divisive case when Attorney General William Barr dropped charges against President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser earlier this year despite twice pleading guilty to lying under oath to lying to the FBI.

Flynn had fought District Judge Emmet Sullivan’s decision to ask a third-party lawyer to argue against the Justice Department’s dismissal in the case, and his plans to hold a hearing, which has not yet happened.

Monday’s decision adds what may be the most consequential round yet to what’s become an unusual and deeply political court case in an election year, and one of the most symbolic prosecutions of a Trump adviser during this presidency.

In an earlier decision, a panel of three judges on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 to allow Flynn’s case to be tossed.

Today’s ruling from the full court reverses that decision.

The appeals court also declined to reassign Flynn’s case to another trial judge, after Flynn’s attorneys accused Judge Sullivan of being biased against Flynn.

I still maintain that, at the end of this whole sordid affair, Donald Trump will pardon Flynn.

Federal Prosecutor Investigating Trump Associates Fired

L-R Attorney General William Barr, Donald Trump (public domain)

From the New York Times:

Attorney William P. Barr said on Saturday that President Trump had fired the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, who has investigated the president’s closest associates, deepening a crisis over the independence of law enforcement and the president’s purge of officials he views as disloyal.

Mr. Trump removed the prosecutor, Geoffrey S. Berman, United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, after he had refused to step down on Friday night. The president’s announcement capped an extraordinary clash over an office that has been at the forefront of corruption inquiries into Mr. Trump’s inner circle.

In a statement released on Saturday, Mr. Barr said Mr. Berman had “chosen public spectacle over public service.” “Because you have declared that you have no intention of resigning, I have asked the President to remove you as of today, and he has done so,” the statement read.

A memo, authored by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 1979, apparently notes a president can dismiss a U.S. attorney, but the attorney general can’t.

Justice Dept To Drop Charges Against Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn (photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

The Department of Justice is reportedly planning to drop charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

I guess this saves Donald Trump from issuing a pardon…

From the Washington Post:

The Justice Department moved to drop charges against former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts during the presidential transition.

The unraveling of Flynn’s guilty plea marked a stunning reversal by the Justice Department in the case of the former three-star Army general who was convicted in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Flynn was one of the first and highest-ranking Trump aides to cooperate and be convicted in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. He pleaded guilty in December 2017 to making false statements about his Russian contacts during the Trump presidential transition.

Having been a senior foreign policy aide for Trump during the 2016 campaign, Flynn served 24 days as national security adviser before being fired from the White House in 2017 for “misstating the nature of his contacts with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak to Vice President Pence, senior White House aides, federal investigators and the news media.”

I feel the need to reiterate – Flynn pleaded guilty.

1,100 Former Justice Department Officials Call On AG Barr To Resign

Attorney General Bill Barr (image via Flickr/WhiteHouse – public domain)

From The Hill:

More than 1,100 former Department of Justice (DOJ) officials are calling for Attorney General William Barr to resign in the wake of the DOJ’s decision to ask for a shorter prison sentence for Roger Stone, a longtime ally and friend of President Trump.

“Barr’s actions in doing the President’s personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words,” the group of ex-officials wrote in a letter shared on Sunday by Protect Democracy, a nonprofit watchdog group. “Those actions, and the damage they have done to the Department of Justice’s reputation for integrity and the rule of law, require Mr. Barr to resign.”

The public statement arrived as Barr and the Justice Department face increased scrutiny over their actions in the Stone case. Four prosecutors resigned from the case last week, and one left the job altogether after Barr and other DOJ leaders asked for a lighter prison sentence than the one the front-line prosecutors initially recommended.

Stone’s trial was born out of evidence found during former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference. A jury found Stone guilty of all seven charges brought against him.

News Round-Up: July 17, 2019

(image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Steve Raider and Ocan Jan (above) barely fit in the same photo. #TheresTheBeef

CBS News: The House voted 230-198 to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt of Congress for obstructing a probe into the administration’s failed bid to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Twitter: A gay teen, Brandon Austin, slayed the inter webs with his graduation ‘death drop’ on Twitter, which has now been ‘Liked’ over 230,000 times.

NBC News: A Florida man is in custody for allegedly using a pair of scissors to cut off the penis of a man he suspected of sleeping with his wife, according to a police report.

Axios: The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) projects the federal deficit will surpass $1 trillion this year, the first time the U.S. deficit has surpassed the $1 trillion level since the 4-year period following the Great Recession. In 2016, Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to wipe out the deficit and also the entire federal debt, which has surpassed $22 trillion.

Netflix: The streaming giant gave a giant slap to the folks at the upcoming ‘Straight Pride’ event for using their logo and claiming Netflix was a ‘possible’ sponsor. In their cease and desist letter, the legal team for Netflix wrote, “Our legal department is here, its queer, and its telling you to steer clear.”

Out Music: Carly Rae Jepsen teamed up with Jordan Alexander and Bud Light for a performance of the ‘Pride Remix’ of her single “Feels Right” at Toronto Pride. The single is from her fourth album, Dedicated, out now.

House Committee Approves Resolution To Hold Commerce Secretary & Attorney General In Contempt

By a vote of 24-15, the House Oversight Committee approved a resolution recommending Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Attorney General William Barr be held in contempt for refusing to comply with subpoenas in regard to the committee's investigation into a question about citizenship on the 2020 census.

By a vote of 24-15, the House Oversight Committee approved a resolution recommending Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Attorney General William Barr be held in contempt for refusing to comply with subpoenas in regard to the committee’s investigation into a question about citizenship on the 2020 census.

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) joined Democrats in voting in favor of the resolution.
The committee is seeking internal documents between the Justice Department and the Trump administration regarding how the citizenship question came to be and why.
Democrats assert the question was added in order to intimidate immigrants into not filing the census form. 
The census is used to determine how many federal lawmakers are allocated to each state. Should immigrants pass on filling out the form it would most probably benefit Republicans.

House Democrats Introduce Resolution To Hold Attorney General In Contempt

CNN is reporting that Democrats in the House of Representatives have introduced a resolution meant to empower committees to go to court to enforce their subpoenas in an effort to give committee chairmen an effective way to hold officials in contempt while bypassing the House floor.

The plan comes after Donald Trump’s Attorney General, William Barr, and former White House counsel Don McGahn have stonewalled efforts by Democrats to get subpoenaed documents from the Trump administration.

The Democrats’ resolution next week to hold Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn in contempt and take those cases to court will also include language stating that committees can move to hold officials in contempt of Congress, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said this week.

The resolution will also include language directing the House to petition the courts to obtain grand jury information contained in the Mueller report.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler pushed for the move in recent weeks as House leadership decided to wait to hold a floor vote on contempt for Barr until they could package officials together. Now committees themselves would be empowered to use civil contempt citations to go to court to enforce their subpoena.

News Round-Up: May 15, 2019

(via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

• InstaHunk Guoyang510 (above) is looking forward to summer, just like I am. Who’s with us???

• Rep. Daniel Lipinski (Ill.), the only House Democrat not to co-sponsor the Equality Act, has announced he will now vote for the legislation. The House is expected to vote on the bill this Friday. Maybe that threat of a primary challenge moved the needle?

• Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and beleaguered Attorney General William Barr bump into each other at an event. Barr jokes about handcuffs, Pelosi goes one better…

• A reader wrote in to Slate’s sex advice column, How To Do It, asking how to handle an office situation when folks realize their new coworker (currently married to a woman) used to do gay porn? I’m not sure what the problem is, but I was curious about the columnist’s response.

US News ranked the 50 states according to several metrics including health care, education, economy, roads, bridges, internet and other infrastructure, its public safety, the fiscal stability of state government, and the opportunity it affords its residents. Click to see where your state lands on the list.

• Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of Senate GOP leadership, said Wednesday that the chamber is unlikely to vote on any election security legislation, despite requests from a federal agency for more funding to improve election systems nationwide.

• Long-running animated series Family Guy hysterically went after Fox News host Sean Hannity. “High sodium Superman” was maybe my favorite description… LOL

Pelosi On Barr: “He Lied To Congress – If Anybody Else Did That It Would Be Considered A Crime”

During testimony to Congress last month, Attorney General William Barr was directly asked by Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) if he was aware of any concerns/frustrations Special Counsel Robert Mueller or his team had regarding Barr’s now-infamous four page ‘summary’ of Mueller’s two year investigation.

At the time, Barr told Crist, “No, I don’t.”

But this week, news of a letter from Mueller to Barr expressing frustrations that Barr’s summary mischaracterized the investigation’s context and substance now puts Barr’s denial in a new perspective.

He had received the letter from Mueller and had a phone call with the Special Counsel about the summary. So, he lied to Congress when he said he didn’t know of any concerns on Mueller’s part.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was asked today how she felt about the statements by Barr.

Pelosi didn’t hold back. “He lied to Congress – if anyone else did that it would be considered a crime.”

Yesterday, Rep. Adam Schiff echoed the same sentiments.

WaPo: Robert Mueller Frustrated Attorney General’s Summary “Did Not Capture Content, Nature, Substance” Of 2-Year Probe

The Washington Post reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller wrote a letter to the Justice Department expressing his "frustration" that Attorney General William Barr's 4-page summary of his investigation “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the two-year probe.

The Washington Post reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller wrote a letter to the Justice Department expressing his “frustration” that Attorney General William Barr’s 4-page summary of his investigation “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the two-year probe.

At the time Mueller’s letter was sent to Barr on March 27, Barr had days prior announced that Mueller did not find a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian officials seeking to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. In his memo to Congress, Barr also said that Mueller had not reached a conclusion about whether Trump had tried to obstruct justice, but that Barr reviewed the evidence and found it insufficient to support such a charge.

Days after Barr’s announcement, Mueller wrote the previously undisclosed private letter to the Justice Department, laying out his concerns in stark terms that shocked senior Justice Department officials, according to people familiar with the discussions.

“The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller wrote. “There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”

Mueller sent his letter on March 24. But in early April, Barr testified to Congress that he didn’t know why there were reports that Mueller’s team was privately frustrated by Barr’s summary.

Asked by Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) if he knew why Mueller’s team might be frustrated, Barr said, “No, I don’t.”

On April 20, Sen. Chris Van Hollen asked Barr, “Did Bob Mueller support your conclusion?” His answer was, “I don’t know whether Mueller supported my conclusion.”

We now know Mueller stated his concerns on March 27th, and that Barr totally misled Congress and the public.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) told CBS This Morning that Barr should resign since the 4-page memo misled the American people in favor of Donald Trump.

“I think his statement is deliberately false and misleading, and yes, most people would consider that to be a lie,” said Schiff. “Look, there’s no sugar coating this, I think he should step down. It’s hard, I think, for the country to have confidence in the top law enforcement official in the country if he’s asked a direct question as he was and he gives a directly false answer, so this is serious business.”

“After two years and work and investigation implicating the president of the United States, for the attorney general to mislead the public for an entire month before releasing that report is inexcusable.”

Barr is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning. The WaPo report should make Barr’s morning that much more interesting.