Russia Probe

Justice Department Moves To Dismiss Charges Against Michael Flynn

Feds now say the national security advisor's lie wasn’t “material” and they cannot prove it.


The Justice Department is moving to drop its case against Michael Flynn, former national security advisor to President Donald Trump. Federal prosecutors charged Flynn with lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian ambassador. Flynn confessed to the charges in 2017.

U.S. Attorney Timothy Shea today submitted a motion to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to dismiss charges against Flynn. "Based on an extensive review and careful consideration of the circumstances," the motion reads, "continued prosecution of this case would not serve the interests of justice."

Flynn pleaded guilty to charges that he lied to the FBI about communicating in 2016 with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. This was prior to Trump taking office, and Flynn wanted Russia to moderate its response to sanctions from President Barack Obama's administration. These communications were uncovered during the investigation of Trump's campaign to determine whether he or his staff were being influenced by the Russian government.

Flynn is now trying to retract his guilty plea and get it tossed out. Today's motion is certainly going to bolster his argument.

The motion is 20 pages long and operates on a complex argument that, among other things, Flynn's lie was not a crime because the Justice Department has determined that the counterintelligence investigation against Flynn was itself not justified. The interview did not have a proper basis and was not "conducted with a legitimate investigative basis and therefore [the government] does not believe Mr. Flynn's statements were material even if untrue."

This is an extraordinary argument from the Justice Department. In general, (as Reason has noted previously when writing about the Flynn case) the FBI and Justice Department have very wide latitude under federal statute to determine whether a lie is "material" to an investigation. That Flynn lied about contacts with the Russian government during an investigation by the FBI about possible Russian infiltration or manipulation of the 2016 presidential election would seem, to the average layperson, to be a "material" lie. Indeed, one footnote acknowledges that the court has already deemed Flynn's statements to be "material" to the investigation, but that was before new disclosures about the way the Flynn interviews were being handled.

Shea writes of Flynn's calls to Kislyak: "The calls were entirely appropriate on their face. Mr. Flynn has never disputed that the calls were made. Indeed, Mr. Flynn, as the former Director of Defense Intelligence Agency, would have readily expected that the FBI had known of the calls—and told FBI Deputy Director McCabe as much."

This motion is being perceived as a sign of deep corruption in the Justice Department to protect Trump and people around Trump, because it's extremely unlikely such a motion would happen otherwise. Former federal prosecutor and current defense attorney (and Reason Contributing Editor) Ken "Popehat" White took to Twitter to note that this would never, ever fly for any other defendant:

It's right to be deeply critical of federal statutes criminalizing lying to federal agents. It's right to be deeply critical of the archaic Logan Act being brought up against Flynn to try to punish political speech. But there's no sign that this is anything but a special deal for Flynn, and the Justice Department is bending over backward to justify it. Calls for changes to federal laws? None to be seen here. The FBI will continue to attempt to trap others in lies and prosecute them.

Read the motion for yourself here.

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  1. I never ever want John to stop strutting about this. Fuck Ken White.

    1. Yup, and John also predicted that White would go full retard and double down on his bullshit in response to this news.

      What’s it like living rent free in that dude’s head, John?

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      2. Ken White and Scott Shackford can both suck my dick.

        1. You’re out of their league.

          1. He’s being charitable

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        2. I wonder what the DOJ was supposed to do with this mess after the FBI and Van Grack served them this shit sandwich. Suppose the DOJ plays chicken and Sullivan allowed Flynn to withdraw the guilty plea. Do you think the DOJ would dare go to trial with the mess they have? They can’t or won’t produce the original 302, the subsequent 302’s were edited by someone who had no business editing it. There is memo from before the interview saying the goal was to set him up. It would be even worse if the DOJ had to actually try the case.

          And why would the guilty plea be invalid? Because the DOJ lied to the judge and said that all the terms of plea were disclosed, but they withheld that they negotiated a deal not to charge Flynn’s son, because it would have impacted his testimony in other cases.

          It was obvious from the moment Powell took the case that she had a mole in the FBI feeding her the dirt. It might have been Priestap, based on his memo.

      3. “John also predicted that White would go full retard and double down on his bullshit in response to this news.”

        Wow. He did, didn’t he?

        How disappointing. I used to enjoy Popehat. Trump really broke a bunch of people, and I still can’t understand how or why.

        1. Popehat February 2018, in Reason:
          “When the feds interview a subject or target, their goal is not fact-finding or “clearing a few things up.” Their goal is the hunt.”

          But i guess once the hounds are on the hare, tearing him apart is their due.

        2. Yep, Popehat was great, but he’s gone full TDS. He blocked me for asking a simple question, on that was entirely intended to actually learn.

    2. Haha. It’s funny because it’s true.

    3. TL;DR:

      Both Scott Shackford and Ken “Popehat” White are fine with crucifying political opponents with false criminal charges.

      Remind me how Scott Shackford is a libertarian, again?

  2. “But there’s no sign that this is anything but a special deal for Flynn,”

    Apart from the evidence of course.

    1. Considering that they made a special deal to railroad him in the first place, I fail to see any problem.

    2. Chipper Morning Wood’s low T value : “Apart from the evidence of course”

      A man aggressively sells his services to multiple foreign governments like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Russia, even while working on the Trump campaign & transition. He is repeatedly caught failing to disclose his foreign lobbying interests. He has contacts with a high Russia official during the transition and bald-face lies to the Vice President and multiple administration officials when specifically questioned on it.

      He then repeatedly lies to FBI agents when asked about Russian contacts in an interview. Why shouldn’t the FBI have had counter-intelligence concerns? Why is there always a special standard for this dumpster-fire administration?

      There was a “for sale” sign plastered on Flynn’s ass, he’d already picked-up at least 40K from Russia (and hadn’t disclosed it), and he was covering-up his actions regarding Russia. Even while being the presumed next National Security Advisor to the President. Those are the facts and the evidence isn’t disputed. Least of all by Barr’s hackish agitprop or the snowflake wailing of commentators here…….

      Remember : Trump fired Flynn for lying to Pence. You haven’t forgotten that, have you?

      1. D-i-s-m-i-s-s-e-d.

        You lose.

      2. “He then repeatedly lies to FBI agents ”

        The same ones who said he didnt lie?


        1. I think he means the ones who illegally altered the documents.

        2. Rakesh M : The same ones who said he didnt lie?

          There is stupid and there is STUPID, and Rakesh’s comment falls into the latter category. Read the brief by Flynn’s lawyers. One of his defenders insisted I do, so I did. The major part of their case is he interview was a perjury trap because the agents knew Flynn was lying thru his teeth before they walked in the door. They had listened to tapes of the conversation Flynn denied having. You’re here commenting on this and you’re so damn clueless you don’t know the basic facts ?!?

          An FBI agent made a note that Flynn was lying smoothly and cleanly. It was an observation of appearance because the irrefutable facts were on a recording that same agent had already heard…..

          1. Poor grb. Poor, loser, fucking left ignoramus grb. Poor, poor losergrb; you and she both LOST, loser.’
            Fuck off and die.

          2. You really do wish jail on all those political dissidents you hate dont you dummy.

            1. Its kinda funny kinda sad how desperately the leftists are… clinging… to the situation prior to evidence coming out

          3. Perjury trap? When was the last time the FBI used one of those on a democrat?

            1. “When was the last time the FBI used one of those on a democrat?”

              That is an excellent question. I don’t keep track of such things, but I can’t remember one. The Rep who got caught with 100,000 bucks in the freezer, maybe? ABSCAM, if we want to go way back? Rostenkowski?

            2. Martha Stewart probably votes D.

              1. She does, but I think it was the SEC, not the FBI that went after her.

          4. “There is stupid and there is STUPID”

            Leading with name calling, that means you’re aware that what I said was true.

          5. You’re here commenting on this and you’re so damn clueless you don’t know the basic facts ?!?


            The House Intelligence Committee on Friday released a newly unredacted section of its final Russia report detailing testimony from former senior FBI officials about the probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn and his contacts with a top Russian diplomat.

            The unredacted portion of the report, written by Republicans on the panel, details testimony from former FBI Director James Comey and his then-deputy, Andrew McCabe. The report says McCabe, in particular, testified that the two agents who interviewed Flynn “didn’t think he was lying.”

            1. That’s all you have ?!? Republican spin on testimony behind closed doors? I guess we need to go thru this one more time:

              29Dec : Flynn contacts Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak

              30Dec to 24Jan : Flynn lies about the contact to Pence and other administration officials.

              24Jan : Flynn lies about the contact in an FBI interview

              08Feb : Flynn lies multiple times about the contact in a media interview

              13Feb : Flynn is fired by Trump for lying to Pence

              0Dec : Flynn pleads guilty to lying in the FBI interview

              So walk me thru your up-is-down weaseling on this: Are you claiming Flynn just forgot? Geez – you people won’t have a shred of integrity left by the time Trump’s circus leaves town.

              1. All of this except lying to pence is an apparent lie based on new brady documents dipshit .

                A transition team talking to foreign governments isn’t a crime dumbfuck.

                Lying to a VP isn’t a crime dumbfuck.

                Everything else you’ve said is disproved by the evidence.

                You’re a dumb piece of shit.

                1. There are facts you’ll never be able to get around, for all your shrill vitriol:

                  (1) Flynn was selling himself to foreign governments around the world, even throughout the Trump campaign and into the transition. This includes Russia, where 40K into his pocket had him seated at Putin’s right hand during a lavish ceremony. This includes Bought&Paid-For Flynn lobbying for the transfer of nuclear tech to the Saudis. This includes the infamous September 2016 meeting Flynn attended in a New York with Turkish officials (including foreign minister Çavuşoğlu, energy minister Albayrak, and the son-in-law of Turkey’s president) where they discussed kidnapping Fethullah Gülen and smuggling him to Turkey. You see, Flynn wasn’t just a whore, but a extra-extra-sleazy one.

                  (2) And he repeatedly failed to report his foreign lobbying, failed to register as a foreign agent, failed to disclose the money foreign governments paid him, and complied with the law only when he was caught.

                  (3) Which explains how he got a high appointment in the White House, like attracting like. Where the very first thing he did is have a long conversation about relaxing U.S. policy on Russia with Ambassador Kislyak, and then lie about it to EVERYONE, including within the White House.

                  (4) Which brought FBI interview, where lying is a crime. Then Flynn was fired by Trump for lying (pretty astounding, that), and pled guilty to the crime of lying.

                  And this sleazy piece of trash is the Right’s great hero? Well, I guess that comes natural to Donald Trump’s bootlickers…..

                  1. Hahahahahahahahaha

                  2. “and pled guilty to the crime of lying.”

                    It’s like you don’t understand what anyone is talking about.

              2. Hoes Still Mad

              3. That’s all you have ?!?

                It’s more than you have.

          6. “”An FBI agent made a note that Flynn was lying smoothly and cleanly.””

            Can you link the note?

      3. Why shouldn’t the FBI have had counter-intelligence concerns?

        Who cares we’re talking about his prosecution.

        But to answer your mewling query, because their investogating agents said they shouldn’t until some other criminal agents fabricated evidence.

      4. Poor grb. Poor, loser, fucking left ignoramus grb. Poor, poor losergrb; you and she both LOST, loser.’
        Fuck off and die.

      5. “”Why is there always a special standard for this dumpster-fire administration?””

        Opposed to the special standards applied to the last admin?

        1. “No reasonable prosecutor…” Still helped kill that evil bitch’s chances, and every bit helped.

          1. A reasonable prosecutor wants to live.

            1. She does have the most amazing wet work contractors, doesn’t she? Almost like she has a grandfather editor, or some other piece of technology that may as well be magic.

      6. Flynn may very well be a guilty man, but they still tried to frame him.

      7. Next step is rehiring Flynn as National Security Advisor now that he has been exonerated.

        1. Even better: Fire the useless Christopher Wray and appoint Flynn to be Director of the FBI.

  3. “Based on facts I was largely aware of at the time …”

  4. So dismissing charges on admitted political prisoners is corruption now? Is White really comfortable with that position?

    1. I’m sure he’s quite comfortable, he Orange Man Badded pretty hard and he can always be proud of that.

      1. “Dismissing a case that the FBI initially recommended dismissing is inherently corrupt.”–Shithat, 7 May 2020

        1. Initially wanting to dismiss it is a sign that they’re all Trump stooges.

          Violating Flynn’s rights, fabricating a case against him and then extorting him into a guilty plea is how the DoJ is supposed to function.

        2. Prosecutors gonna prosecute.

          1. You misspelled “persecutors”.

    2. Yes he is. He was claiming there was nothing wrong with the initial plea. He now looks like a complete fool and government hack. Rather than show an ounce of integrity and admit he was wrong, he doubles down with “this is just a special deal for Flynn on an otherwise legal plea”. White is too pathetic and his ego too enormous and too fragile to tell the truth here. So, he will continue to defend a terrible abuse of process and justice against Flynn. Whatever you think of the laws, it is clear Flynn didn’t break them. The FBI lied about him breaking the law and then DOJ extorted him into pleading guilty to something he didn’t do.

      White can’t tell the truth here. Telling the truth would be too much of a blow to his ego and his social standing among the media and establishment liberals. And with White, it is all about Ken White, the truth and integrity are not something Ken White bothers to consider.

    3. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t know much about Flynn and his career and I doubt I should be defending this guy. He was there way too long to have not been party to some pretty egregious crimes against humanity. Who knows, in a different circumstance he may have been on the other side of this doing this to some other soulless “intelligence community” stooge. I just can’t imagine how you can think that letting this guy go after proving his prosecution was political is anything but a great precedent. Especially for anyone who sees themselves as even slightly libertanianish.

      1. I really have no opinion about Flynn as a person. I don’t know enough to form an intelligent opinion. But, I don’t care if he is a monster who personally water boarded Iraqi children for fun, he was a victim of a partisan FBI here and the case against him is outrageous. If he is a bad guy, then that is all the more reason to hate the FBI, DOJ and its media hacks like Ken White for forcing honest people to defend him.

        1. It also doesn’t speak well for the FBI and their “pursuit of justice” that someone who has in all likely hood played a hand in either ruining peoples lives or getting even getting people killed will never see a second in court for those injustices. He goes down for daring to take a job in the cabinet of someone they just can’t abide.

          1. Appearently his biggest sin was taking intelligence operations and moving them out of Washington and into theater where they could be done in a timely manner. This meant civilians at the CIA and DIA had to deploy to big icky war zones. They never forgave him for that and worked with the FBI to destroy him as a result. Also, he wrote a letter vouching for the character of a woman who had accused Andrew McCabe of sexually harassing her. So McCabe hated his guts for that. I think it was McCabe or one of the big wigs at the FBI.

            That is the kind of honorable people these assholes are. They are all about country first not their own petty grudges or anything.

            1. It’s such a predictable result. You made the FBI and the CIA gods. Masters of life and death with near impunity. Of course this attitude has been ingrained in to their culture. I can’t imagine a way these people could ever be reigned in at this point. Who watches the watchmen? The best we’re going to get is little victories like this.

              1. They have been totally unaccountable for decades. We had the Church Commission in the 70s and they all promised to mend their ways. And here we are 40 years later and they are worse than they ever were.

                1. The intel community can screw you six ways to Sunday so said the senior senator from NY not all that long ago.

                  They didn’t reform, they refined.

            2. No, Flynn’s big sin was what led him to getting ousted from his position as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency – he opposed Obama’s efforts to get rid of Assad “no matter what” and the CIA’s role in supplying Assad’s “moderate” opponents on the grounds that there were far worse things than Assad remaining in power and that Assad’s “moderate” opponents were one way or another assisting ISIS. As far as Flynn was concerned, it was bad enough we were meddling around in Syria, but it was even worse that we were on the wrong damn side. And I suspect Flynn doesn’t have a great deal of confidence in the proposition that the CIA could find it’s ass with both hands and a map. The CIA fucks up everything it touches to such a degree that I think Occam’s Razor is off the table.

              Which might have more to do with the IC being out to get to Flynn than this “Russian collusion” shit – yes, Flynn probably was colluding with the Russians, but the collusion was in the form of working out a deal involving the US getting the hell out of Syria and letting Russia take a few whacks at that tarbaby.

              You need to wake up and smell the coffee if you still believe the nonsense that this whole “Russian collusion hoax” was run by the FBI and that retard James Comey – John Brennan and the CIA were running the show. And Trump really needs to do the same – it’s not just a few bad apples within the IC who were out to get him, the IC is a part of the MIC and the MIC rules the swamp. They’ve got no interest in letting their power be usurped by some dumbass outsider like Trump who doesn’t even know who really runs things around here.

              1. No, Flynn’s big sin was what led him to getting ousted from his position as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency – he opposed Obama’s efforts to get rid of Assad “no matter what” and the CIA’s role in supplying Assad’s “moderate” opponents on the grounds that there were far worse things than Assad remaining in power and that Assad’s “moderate” opponents were one way or another assisting ISIS.

                This is actually pretty believable, considering it just came out that Obama was the one who kicked off the investigation. Obama’s meddling in Syria and Libya arguably caused as much damage to the Middle East as the Iraq war did, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was butt-blasted about Flynn’s lack of cooperation.

                1. “…Obama’s meddling in Syria and Libya arguably caused as much damage to the Middle East as the Iraq war did,…”

                  Let us not forget their inexplicable refusal to meddle in Iran in 2009. One of the biggest missed foreign policy opportunities in US history.

                  1. Honestly, that’s probably less of an issue in isolation than the administration’s rather odd predilection for doing whatever they felt benefitted Iran in the first place. I suspect a lot of it has to do with Valerie Jarrett, her family history there, and Obama’s tendency to not even take a shit without asking her what kind of toilet paper to use first.

              2. Good comment.
                The Obama administration and the IC during his reign, i think, have a lot more than that to cover up too

          2. Ken if you wanna slander Flynn just do it and stop with the mealy mouthed crap.

        2. Flynn was actually trying to clean up the IC under Obama which is why he was fired and many think railroaded.

            1. You still fucking post here after your politico bullshit?


            2. I don’t care.

          1. “Flynn was actually trying to clean up the IC under Obama which is why he was fired and many think railroaded.”

            Remember when Flynn made Pence look like an idiot because Pence repeated some of Flynn’s lies?


            Read up.

            1. Remember when you posted lie after lie?
              Read up.
              And fuck off.

            2. You still use them as a source? Didnt you learn anything from Trumps China loans? Or their pleading NYT letter?

              You’re just a fucking mindless stooge.

            3. No and I also don’t care.

    4. Fuck justice when Trump looks good.

      1. Justice demands that innocent people be framed I guess. Fuck you.

        1. Get your detector calibrated.

          1. It is hopelessly broken. My apologies.

            1. No worries man.

        2. Quick Draw McGraw over here lol

  5. The Department of Justice’s motion to dismiss Flynn’s case is an extremely well written defense argument that would absolutely fail if made by the defense, and will be quoted extensively (to no avail) in future 1001 prosecutions. It’s transparently corrupt.

    Hoes Mad, Part XXI of a series today.

    1. They withheld Brady evidence from him and sent FBI agents to interview him for the specific purpose of getting Flynn to lie or finding a dependency that they could claim was a lie and hide the fact it was a interview concerning their investigation of Flynn so that Flynn wouldn’t know to get a lawyer and not answer their questions. And if that wasn’t enough, they changed the notes of what he said to ensure it looked like a lie.

      And Ken White is totally okay with that and thinks it fails as a legal argument. Remember, White loves to remind everyone he went to Harvard and was once an assistant US attorney. Does White think this behavior is legal? If so, how many innocent people did White send to prison during his time at DOJ?

      1. And Comey essentially said they were able to that because he expected that Trump’s team would not be cynical enough to see that the FBI was up to no good. Experienced teams like Obama’s and Bush’s would have saw right through them. That says a hell of a lot more about how nasty Comey, the FBI and the general political culture of Washington is than anything else

  6. The fix is in. I mean, this is the whole reason Barr was brought in. Just sweep all the ugly shit under the rug.

    I’m sure the fascists love it though.

    1. Nothing says “fascist” like the government refusing to railroad someone to prison in a case brought by political hacks in the Justice Department.

      Is that you Ken?

    2. Irony. Calling the clearing of a person who was railroaded for political reasons as fascist. Literally setting someone free of a political prosecution… you seem fascist.

    3. Faacism is letting innocent guys go free.

      1. This is something sarcasmic would say. Like when he said the lockdowns were just strong suggestions.

    4. Damn, and it wasn’t that long ago someone could have said.

      The fix is in. I mean, this is the whole reason Comey was brought in. Just sweep all the ugly shit under the rug.

      I’m sure the fascists love it though.

  7. I’m sure Welchie Boy and the rest of the Reason ObamaBot P.F.L.s are seething with rage just as much as they were when George Zimmerman got acquitted.

    There’s nothing lefties despise more than a patriotic American hero like General Flynn who still believes America deserved to be put first.

  8. The FBI are the one’s corrupt. Have been since Hoover’s days.

    1. And I don’t have much confidence in Wray.
      Flynn would be a good replacement

      1. No, the FBI director needs to br confirmed.

        Just put him back in as NatSec director.

  9. Anyone else see the DOJ coming to terms with the inevitability another four years of Trump as President?

    “We better start playing nice with his administration, this guy is gonna be our boss a while longer.”

    1. That is an interesting way to look at it. I think there is certainly some of that going on here. It appears the lead prosecutor is withdrawing from all of his cases and is on his way out of DOJ.

      I have never seen anything like this. But, I have never lived in a time where DOJ was anything but corrupt and partisan. So, maybe they have decided to mend their ways.

      1. The lead prosecutor should be in jail himself. Maybe he’s running away before he is removed and prosecuted himself.

        1. I think there’s a bit of that going on, yes

      2. I don’t think they’re attempting to mend their ways so much as they’re just trying to limit how much damage they take.

        As was published here earlier this week, as sad as it is this kind of thing is pretty much business as usual at the DoJ. I don’t think the DoJ wants anyone kicking over rocks on other cases they’ve prosecuted, as you noted earlier they typically go to insane lengths to put people in jail for however long they can, justice be damned. They don’t want to lose other convictions, and they know that if they stick to their guns on this one Trump’s admin is going to shed a ton of light on DoJ operations. Far better to just cut their losses.

        1. “”I don’t think they’re attempting to mend their ways so much as they’re just trying to limit how much damage they take.””


      3. It appears the lead prosecutor is withdrawing from all of his cases and is on his way out of DOJ.

        Maybe he just got a plum, high paying job offer to be CNN’s newest “legal analyst?”

        1. They do need to replace Avenetti still.

  10. //But there’s no sign that this is anything but a special deal for Flynn, and the Justice Department is bending over backward to justify it.//

    Fuck off. Even with undisputable proof that the FBI railroaded Flynn and didn’t even believe he was lying, you still can’t admit that the Russia hoax was a hoax, huh?

    Fuck off Shackford.

    1. Nobody loves big government, the bureaucracy, and the Deep State more than Shackturd and the rest of the Reason PFLs, provided that they’re targeting the people they want to see targeted.

      Shackturd completely bought into all the Crossfire Hurricane/Steele Dossier/”Russian Collusion” bullshit hook, line, and sinker, and desperately wanted it to all be true. Needless to say, he can never bring himself to admit that he got played for a fool and a sucker. Not even to himself.

  11. So the Justice Department admits the Flynn investigation was spurious, yet Reason thinks Flynn should still be prosecuted for lying because he didn’t remember the correct answer to a question that he had no reason to lie about, because he knew that the investigators already had records of the call?

    This rag has turned into a dumpster fire.

    1. “This rag has turned into a dumpster fire.”

      You are wrong. They would need significant improvement to rise to the level of dumpster fire.

      1. Yeah I mean, how do you not mention that the prosecutor, who a jurist said was frequently sleeping in court, threatened to go after Flynn’s son if he didn’t plead guilty.

  12. Trump pardoned that Sheriff Arpaio guy, why can’t he pardon Flynn?

    Because he’s worried about criticism by people who think he’s Hitler?

    1. You pardon guilty people. That is what a pardon is; an admission of guilty but a get out of jail free pass. Trump was right not to pardon Flynn and allow him to clear his name.

      1. The DoJ admits the possibility of pardons on the grounds of innocence (though they’re not what I’d call enthusiastic about it)

        “… if a petitioner refuses to accept guilt, minimizes culpability, or raises a claim of innocence or miscarriage of justice, the United States Attorney or Assistant Attorney General should address these issues….

        “…Persons seeking a pardon on grounds of innocence or miscarriage of justice bear a formidable burden of persuasion.”

      2. I know the topic is the subject of chin-stroking legal debate, but I’ll just mention two practical arguments:

        1) The President can include in the proclamation of pardon some such phrase as “this man is innocent and therefore I pardon him.” It would be hard in that situation to claim that accepting the pardon means you’re guilty.

        2) Does the executive branch, which responsible for prosecuting people and for making sure the wrong people aren’t prosecuted, have no means of correcting a mistake if it gets a conviction of some innocent person? If the President thinks someone is innocent, must he have DoJ lawyers go hat in hand to the courts? As opposed to pardoning someone he admits to be guilty, which he concededly has the power to do? That would give the guilty more rights than the innocent.

    2. A pardon doesn’t exonerate Flynn.
      The DOJ tucking their tails between their legs and lying down certainly does

      1. Joseph Story, in his commentaries, included this in his defense of the pardon power:

        “Would it not be at once unjust and unreasonable to exclude all means of mitigating punishment, when subsequent inquiries should demonstrate, that the accusation was wholly unfounded, or the crime greatly diminished in point or atrocity and aggravation, from what the evidence at the trial seemed to establish? A power to pardon seems, indeed, indispensable under the most correct administration of the law by human tribunals; since, otherwise, men would sometimes fall a prey to the vindictiveness of accusers, the inaccuracy of testimony, and the fallibility of jurors and courts.”

        This seems to allow for pardons based on innocence.

        1. Prof. Volokh discussed this and other considerations on the question:

        2. Pardons based on innocence are all well and good, but this thing was obviously rotten from the beginning.
          A pardon wouldn’t have gotten all this out there

          1. Basically, a pardon would’ve let everyone off the hook

            1. A pardon for Flynn wouldn’t exonerate his persecutors.

              I don’t know how many of these new discovery materials were kept from Trump – ideally he should have had these available to him earlier. And if that’s what makes the difference between letting the conviction stand or granting a pardon, then now the information’s out there, there would be nothing wrong with a pardon based on innocence.

              Again, I don’t see why the benefits of a pardon should be reserved only for the guilty. It is offensive to the sense of justice, and interferes too much with a key power of the President.

              1. I think you’re having a different discussion than this specific point.
                Had the DOJ and courts held to Flynn’s original and coerced guilty plea, I’d guess that Trump would pardon him (though possibly after the election).
                But I’m sure Trump was being told what was apparent to a lot of us – this thing stunk from the word go, and Flynn’s team was getting at the evidence.
                Let it play out, because that sends a much more significant message than a pardon would

                1. *specific case

                2. If Flynns pursues this angle rather than a pardon, OK, that’s up to him.

                  If he were to ask for a pardon based on innocence, without having to go hat in hand to the courts, he should get one.

                  The discovery process may uncover more than Trump might get from a stonewalling FBI. If so it’s all to the good, I suppose, though not a good reflection on Trump’s actual influence.

                  1. …you know he doesn’t need a pardon now?

                    The DOJ is dismissing the case.
                    I dont think they’ve ever really done this before

              2. “A pardon for Flynn wouldn’t exonerate his persecutors.”

                Of course it wouldn’t, but it would end the scrutiny of them. Which is effectively exonerating them.

  13. “Based on an extensive review and careful consideration of the circumstances,” the motion reads, “continued prosecution of this case would not serve the interests of justice.”

    Continued prosecution of half the FBI, however – – – – – – – – –

  14. Somebody is going to retire on a fat federal pension.

  15. “In general, (as Reason has noted previously when writing about the Flynn case) the FBI and Justice Department have very wide latitude under federal statute to determine whether a lie is “material” to an investigation.”

    So Reason is now for wide governmental powers to broadly determine the meaning of laws? Huh.

    1. General Flynn believes that America should be put first, and Reason believes that America should be put last. The same way that Reason believes that in a pandemic, foreigners should still have total unfettered freedom and Americans should have none.

      They simply can’t help but see him as a natural enemy.

    2. “In general, (as Reason has noted previously when writing about the Flynn case) the FBI and Justice Department have very wide latitude under federal statute to determine whether a lie is “material” to an investigation.”
      Scott reveals his ignorance of the facts revealed by the FBI a week or so ago. The FBI investigation of Flynn, crossfire razor, was specifically authorized to determine if he was acting as an agent of Russia. The team assigned to that task determined that “No derogatory information was identified in FBI holdings,” and closed the case. Peter Strozk, with the blessing of Comey, reopened the case and the evidence is clear that the new intent was to:
      “What’s our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?” reads the note, written by the FBI’s then-director of counterintelligence. “If we get him to admit to breaking the Logan Act, give facts to DOJ & have them decide. Or, if he initially lies, then we present him [redacted] & he admits it, document for DOJ, & let them decide how to address it.”
      Only a hack like Shackford would be willing to make the case that getting someone to lie so they can be prosecuted for a process crime, getting an individual fired, or manufacturing a violation of the unconstitutional and centuries old Logan act that has never been prosecuted is material to the investigation initiated that had already been closed by the investigators for lack of evidence. All of this information is in the public record and it all comes directly from the FBI. Shackford and Reason completely ignore all the facts and instead rely on the one liners by another hack, Popehat.
      I also have no opinion about Flynn as an individual just as I had no opinion about Kavanaugh. To me they’re both swamp dwellers likely to do more harm than good. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Obama administration attempted a coup against a duly elected president even after he had taken office. But Reason believes that it’s Trump’s DOJ that’s corrupt. Amazing.

    3. How could it be really “material” to a collusion probe?

      Flynn admitted to talking to Russian officials as member of Trump team. He never offered deals and QPQs, he only failed to disclose that he told the Russians to chill out on Ukraine and sanctions. He never concealed that he was a lobbyist for Turkey, he just failed to register as one in time. The penalty for that is usually a fine and prosecution almost never happens.

      The FBI listened in on Flynn’s conversation and tried to entrap him. They tried to goad him into a lying despite their investigation lacking an underlying crime. Despite the fact that they knew Flynn didn’t sell out to the Russians. I can’t believe Reason won’t connect the dots.

    4. There was a time when Reason’s editorial position on whether “lying” to FBI when not under oath should even be considered a crime would have been high dudgeon.

  16. Amash might be able to do well just campaigning on cleaning up the FBI, sending a ton of its corrupt agents to prison, and re-focusing the
    Bureau on catching bank robbers, kidnappers, corrupt politicians, and Medicare fraudsters.

    1. If he keeps making the same sales pitch he’s been making on national news media so far, he’s not going to be campaigning for very long. With justifiable outrage against the state and it’s actors at all time highs on both sides of the aisle and he’s trying to play the civil, level headed unity guy. He’s been sounding as vapid as Marianne Williamson.

    2. Amash supported this shit.

      1. Yep.
        Utterly hilarious to think the guy pimping their bullshit wants to clean it up.

      2. This criticism of Amash comes up a lot, but everybody but me seems to know all the details. I tried searching it up on the Internet, but without knowing the story I wasn’t sure what to search for. What did Amash do exactly?


          And more if you want.

          He didnt exactly hide his approval of the Mueller bullshit.

          Did you even try looking? Believe Reason even had stories on it

          1. This is Amash in a nutshell.

            1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report. [Said as if Barr was under any obligation to preserve Weissman’s narrative.]
            2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct. [Semantic bullshit. Everything is impeachable. Doesn’t make it a good idea.]
            3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances.
            4. Few members of Congress have read the report. [3 & 4 He drops even the pretense of an argument and goes to straight up moral preening.]

          2. Thanks for the answer. I did eventually find that Twitter stream and read it.

  17. CNN and MSNBC hardest hit.

    I’m guessing Rachel Madcow is probably on suicide watch right now.

    1. You promise much.

      1. Quick, someone send her some old Trump tax returns.

  18. so it’s legal for law enforcement to lie to us, it really is, but illegal for us to lie to them. “What a Country…”

    1. It always has been, Toby.

      Don’t talk to the cops. Yes, there are exceptions.

      But with the Feds? No, don’t talk to them. At all, without an attorney’s counsel. Really, don’t talk to the Feds. Looking at their behavior, you have to deduce that they aren’t interested in learning what happened, but are interested in finding out some charge that’ll stick.

      I’m not even kidding when I say, disband them, let a group of 50 or so academics play in their files, and give their responsibilities to the Marshals or state law enforcement.

  19. What the hell? Prosecutorial misconduct is enough to get entire cases thrown out. And its almost certainly what happened here. Whether Flynn lied should almost be a moot point.

    Flynn was caught on a process crime that had nothing to do with Russian collusion. He failed to register as a foreign agent in time, which usually results in a fine. For that, he was made a target by the FBI, who knew he did not sell out his country is any shape of form. They listened in one everything. Last week Reason helpfully alerted us that “the real tragedy is that the FBI does this to everyone”

    The bogus case on the Logan Act violation (a snot nosed kid with access to Wikipedia would know the FBI had no case) and the unjustified surveillance on Trump associates aren’t some separate cases. They all come from the same poisnous tree. There were FBI personnel discussing “insurance policy” on the president. At local level this case would have been thrown out months ago. Whose power is protecting who?

    The DOJ is entirely correct in stating that further prosecution of Flynn is not in the interest of justice, when collusion charges and all suspects were cleared of any wrongdoing and FBI misconduct was brought to light. Flynn was a pawn the FBI tried to coerce to obtain info. But there’s no need to do that now.

    What is Reason’s rationale for the government going after Flynn?

    1. Orange Man Bad!!!2!1!1

  20. I am confused. He admitted to the phone calls. Told the FBI that he assumed they had logged the calls because that’s their job. And then supposedly denied the calls?


    1. Yeah. The latest documents released also reveal that the original 302s, agent notes of the conversation, were edited numerous times. And to date the FBI has not provided the recordings of the Kislyak conversation to Flynn’s defense. The reality is we will never know what Flynn said to the FBI or Kislyak. What we do know is that federal prosecutors made an illegal off the record deal with Flynn’s former attorneys not to prosecute his son if he agreed to plead to a process crime.

      1. I want to know what lawyer first got a federal judge to buy that handwritten notes were sufficient evidence, in a time of both video and audiotape, to convict someone of intentionally lying to a federal officer. Because that, to quote a Civil Procedure instructor I knew, is “Outstanding Lawyering.”

        I’m not even mad; I’m just amazed.

        1. Perhaps that judge was a former FISA judge. The bar seems low there.

  21. Trump should appoint Flynn as FBI director.

    1. Before or after the government pays him at minimum 3.4 million he spent in legal fees?

      1. Finally a justified use of my tax dollars.

        1. Sort of… taxes are still theft but you get the point.

  22. I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2017

    There’s been speculation that Trump might invite Flynn back into a role in his administration – the question is, would Flynn be stupid enough to take him up on his offer after being thrown under the bus like this? Trump demands loyalty from his subordinates, but where’s Trump when they need somebody to cover their six? Flynn’s a military man, he should know what you call leaders who won’t stand up for their men, and if he doesn’t he can ask Captain Crozier, late of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. (Whom, as I recall, Trump took a shit on as well because he’s an idiot who doesn’t understand military culture and deal-making.) Sure, Trump is crowing about being totally vindicated in his belief that Flynn did nothing wrong, but that makes his firing of Flynn even worse, doesn’t it?

    1. Crozier might actually get his job back. Which is nothing short of amazing.

      The Big Stick will need him. And if things deteriorate more with China, we might need the Big Stick.

      1. Yes, that is amazing. That Modly shithead who’s not even a military man who fired him and called him stupid and naive without realizing that if Crozier were really that stupid and naive they would have promoted him to Admiral and he’d be formulating policy at the Pentagon rather than steering a boat is the real stupid and naive one – and that’s exactly how he got to be Under Secretary of the Navy instead of being put in command of a ship.

        1. Modly had a point for flying all the way out there. It was to remind the crew that we might be going to war very soon, and if so, a hell of lot more of their shipmates might die than were threatened by this cough, so shut up and sailor.

          He was just a dumbfuck about the way he gave that—-vitally needed—message. Flying out on a DoD 757 just to do that, one. Having this, as I’ve heard it described, a UFO Meeting: “You Fucking Officers.” broadcast to the Ship’s crew over the 1MC, instead of in a closed doors bitch session on the hangar deck, was the second.

          The ship needed to know that shit is getting serious now. And TR is one of the few sea control versus sea denial tools available. F-35, and it’s ability to be sortied on things like USS America instead of needing a CVN, is a game changer, but I’m not sure it’ll be enough. There’s only two carriers there, with Reagan in Japan. The crews needed to know this situation is getting beyond getting pissed that across who had your back, had to go.

          China is in debt to mahy countries because of this bug, and I don’t think they’ll be in a mood to pay. I think that every trade restriction will give rise to some form of lashing out. We’ll see. But this is why I think Modly did what on the surface seems an incredibly stupid, butthurt thing.

          1. Across who had your back, should be, A boss who had your back.

  23. Ken White may have missed this but it is not a time to worry that a bad law that is regularly enforced against political opponents, is now being ignored to protect political cronies.

    Everything about that law and the agencies that enforce it are completely corrupt to being with! Nothing rooted in FISA is anything but corrupt.

    “Wide discretion” is not what’s involved. It’s completely arbitrary enforcement and that is the essence of political corruption.

  24. A silly internet personality commonly referred to as Teddy Spaghetti very nearly bullycided Ken White several years ago. Should you have the opportunity to interact with Mr. White, please keep that in mind.

    1. Do tell, Sidd. With links, if possible.

      Sounds ridiculous, which means it’s likely true, these days.

      1. Sorry I got that wrong.

        It was ’14 or ’15. Somebody else nearly bullycided Ken White and Vox Day made fun of him for it. Ken White got buttblasted and kicked Clark (friend of both) off the site.


          Clark was kicked off the site as soon as this was published.

          1. Christ, it’s been five years nearly since Clark took a hike?

            Time flies. Thanks for the link, Sidd.

            1. It’s interesting to look back at 2012 to 2015, pre Trump, and see who’s starting to get wrapped up in The Great Awokening.

  25. The Justice Department did the right thing here. The absolute most you can say to criticize is that this isn’t part of a larger effort to reform the deep flaws that led to this injustice.

    It’s clear Flynn doesn’t belong in jail. It’s also pretty clear that charges wouldn’t be dismissed if he wasn’t politically connected, but that comes with the caveat that charges wouldn’t have been brought if he wasn’t politically connected. So at worst, it’s doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.

  26. Flynn and anyone in Trump’s orbit didn’t grasp-who could?- the Kafkaesque nature of Obama’s Intelligence and Justice circles.

    From Comey to Clapper, the gatekeepers of the law acted as political agents who balanced the light of due process with their dark ideological agendas.

    Mission one was always about neutering Trump and his presidency. Obviously, Flynn was a bargaining chip, an expedient device, to advance the mission. Railroading him was barely an afterthought.

    Kafka’s narratives usually end with some parable of frustration and hopelessness, as if fate itself leaves us all powerless, especially against the State. Maybe that’s true. Maybe so.

    But not today. Not today at all. Today, the good guys won. And fate can kiss our ass.

  27. “That Flynn lied about contacts with the Russian government during an investigation by the FBI about possible Russian infiltration or manipulation of the 2016 presidential election ”

    That Flynn lied is a fact not established by any evidence.

    We have the word of people engaged in a coup, and of Flynn under duress. We have no tape. No video. No nothing but after the fact statements by people we should have no expectation to tell the truth in the given context.

    1. All of this. Elements of FBI leadership agreed to wiretap the political campaign of the opposing party during a Presidential election. Hell, Nixon just kinda sorta agreed to burglarize their headquarters, and we threw his ass out in part for that.

      That kind of conduct is so wrong, it hurts. It should have been instantly recognizable as, “Boss, that’s illegal. It’s so illegal, I’m going to need a lot more evidence than this for why you think it’s legal, because I’m damned sure not going to prison if we do this.” It isn’t an edge case. And if people in FBI Headquarters were thinking, “Ah, fuck it, we got this.” Then they need to go.

      1. No.

        Nixon’s ass was thrown out of office because, after J. Edgar Hoover died, Nixon dared appoint an outsider as FBI Director over the head of Associate Director Mark “Deep Throat” Felt.

        Everything else was just window-dressing on the coup conducted by America’s secret police against a president who offended them.

  28. In another democrat abuse of lawfare…

    Supreme court ruled 9-0 on no abuse of power over the New Jersey bridge gate scandal.

  29. I do think J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI took a little extra political action for Obama over Flynn but after all, J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI has been a political organization for 50-60 years. Please always refer to J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI by their full name. Doing so reminds you of everything they have always been. If they split the organization into two parts, one internal criminal and the other external national security AND demoted them a level or two down the Government hierarchy, it may become a more effective law enforcement factor.

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  31. The newly released documents virtually guaranteed he would be released. They had no other choice.

  32. Not a single mention of the pervasive prosecutorial misconduct? Well played, Shackleton. Well played.

  33. This is a technical exoneration made possible by AG William Barr. The facts remain, we know what kind of person Flynn is and what was done. William Barr was wrong that history was written by winners. In this country they are written by historians, unless the AG plans to change that too.

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