Barr drops charges against Flynn, marking a new milestone in the politicization of justice in the Trump era
The Justice Department has decided to drop the charges against President Trump's former national security advisor, despite his guilty plea.
The true efficiency of the Trump Administration seems to be evident in the pacts and agreements being made behind the scenes, as the country is distracted by mismanaged pandemics.
Last Saturday, the Associated Press explained how Attorney General William Barr, with or without coordination with the White House, had decided to drop charges against the president's former national security advisor, Michael Flynn.
After arriving at the position thanks to his campaign against the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Barr has finally delivered tangible results to the president, setting free the key link in the opening of the investigation.
In early February 2017, and with only 24 days in office, Flynn, admitted to having ignored part of his conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak when it came to reporting to the vice presidency and putting on the table the talks and assurances that the Trump campaign offered Russia during the transition.
In addition to being investigated by the FBI for its ties to Russia, the Navy opened its own investigation against Flynn for violations of the Constitution's Emolument Clause by receiving payments from foreign governments for its intelligence services through its Flynn Intel Group company.
Understanding the relationship between the Trump administration and the Russian government is a matter of simple arithmetic: the Mueller investigation determined that Russian intelligence services intervened in the 2016 elections through hacking to favor the election of Trump.
When Michael Flynn confessed to offering benefits to Moscow once the new government was in place in the White House, connecting the dots was not difficult.
Despite the Administration's defenses, it was not until William Barr took office as Attorney General that the Mueller investigation was shut down and summarized in a four-page report intended to clear the president of any wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, the Flynn case was still in court, under the shadow of the pressure that Trump would have put on then-FBI Director James Comey, to whom he famously said, "I hope you can let this go.”
In November 2017, Robert Mueller had enough information to file charges against Flynn, who pledged to cooperate with the investigation.
Two years later, his sentence was still being postponed because of arguments by his defense team that FBI agents had tricked him into pleading guilty.
Flynn asked to withdraw his plea, which was denied by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan. Barr, therefore, put his case in the hands of district attorney Jeffrey Jensen, who postponed his sentence indefinitely.
In court documents, Justice Department attorneys argued that new information showed "how the agents mishandled the investigation," The Hill reported.
Barr called the dismissal "an easy decision."
“I wanted to make sure that we restore confidence in the system,” he told CBS News on Thursday. “There's only one standard of justice. And I believe that this case, that justice, in this case, requires dismissing the charges against General Flynn.”
"People sometimes plead to things that turn out not to be crimes, and the Department of Justice is not persuaded that this was material to any legitimate counterintelligence investigation. So it was not a crime."
For some, Barr's decision has broader connotations.
For one thing, dropping the charges against Flynn would prevent the president from issuing a controversial pardon during an election year. On the other hand, it closes the case that the Attorney General has made since the beginning, where he has described the FBI’s investigation as “an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions.”
What Barr calls "thin" is the direct link between the Trump administration and Moscow. Ending Flynn's trial seems, so far, to close the worst chapter in the history of this administration.