How the Justice Department reversed course on Michael Flynn

After retiring from the positions, political officials at the Justice Department offered a new justification for why the case should be closed. The end result is in line with Trump's view; president have said repeatedly Flynn did nothing wrong and was abused by the FBI.
The Ministry of Justice issued the bombshell message in one court filing signed only by Timothy Shea, the U.S. Attorney in Washington, DC. Attorney General William Barr appointed Shea to the position this year after his predecessor, Jessie Liu, resigned. CNN reported that Liu was sidelined because Trump was unhappy with her handling of politically sensitive issues.
The Justice Department attributed many of its reversals to what it called "newly discovered" information that emerged during a Barr-ordered review of the case. After some of the materials were unsealed last week, Trump seized the trend, tweeted dozens of times about Flynn and publicly declared that Flynn deserved to be dispensed with.

Why did the FBI investigate Flynn?

The FBI investigated Flynn's communication with Russian government officials as part of the larger investigation into links between Trump's presidential campaign and Russians. The parent probe was launched in July 2016 and eventually became the Mueller investigation.


Then-FBI Director James Comey previously told Congress that he sent agents to interrogate Flynn "to find out if there was anything we were missing about his relationship with the Russians." The FBI was ready to end its collusion investigation on Flynn, but then top Trump officials began spreading false information in TV interviews about Flynn's contacts with Russia.

Attorneys for the Ministry of Justice previously said that "the issue of sanctions," as Flynn discussed with the Russian ambassador, "went to the heart of the FBI's counterintelligence investigation." In his phone calls, Flynn urged the Russians not to retaliate against new US sanctions, imposed by then-President Barack Obama as punishment for Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

What the Ministry of Justice is saying now:

In the new filing Thursday, the Justice Department says the investigation of Flynn was no longer justified when Comey sent FBI agents to interview him Jan. 24, 2017.


"After a review of all the facts and circumstances of this case, including newly discovered and disclosed information … the government has concluded that Mr. Flynn's interview was unbound to, and unjustified by, the FBI's prudential investigation of Mr. Flynn," the department wrote in their formal request to dismiss the criminal case.

After Trump fired Flynn, he repeated repeatedly defended his former aide and said Flynn "just did his job" by talking to the Russians.
For the first time in the Flyn trial, the Justice Department agreed with that view and said in Thursday's submission that "the conversations were perfectly appropriate on the face." Barr told CBS News in an interview that Flyn's calls were "commendable."

Is Flynn lying to the FBI about Russia?

According to previous court filings, Flynn told at least four lies during his FBI interview.
READ: The Justice Department asks to dismiss Michael Flynn's indictment
He agreed to a deadline in December 2017 and admitted to a count of lies. (As part of his collaboration agreement, Flynn also admitted other illegal behavior regarding his pro-Turkey lobbying activities.)

Flynn said under oath that he was guilty of lying to the FBI. He made this sworn statement in 2017 and again in 2018, in front of two federal judges who dealt with different parts of his case.

Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan, who is currently overseeing the case, previously ruled that Flynn's lie was "material" or relevant to the Russia investigation. Materiality is one of the key elements of the crime – prosecutors must prove that the lie was relevant to the investigation.

What the Ministry of Justice is saying now:

The Ministry of Justice now says that Flyn's lies were not essential to the investigation, and that he may not have been at the outset. The filing cites comments from FBI agents who interviewed him, who later said they were not sure if Flynn was actually lying.


"The government … does not believe Mr. Flynn's statements were material even though they were untrue," the filing says, reversing the position it held since 2017. "We (do not) believe that the government can prove neither the relevant false statements nor their materiality beyond a reasonable doubt. "


Did the FBI render Flynn?

Trump, Flynn's lawyers and their allies in right-wing media have it aroused the conspiracy that Flynn was captured by anti-Trump partisans in the FBI and the Justice Department, who dropped him for lying because they wanted to throw him in jail and undermine Trump.

Flynn testified in 2018 that he knew it was a crime to lie during the interview, that he did not believe his rights were being violated, and that he did not want to challenge the circumstances of the interview.

Barr defends dropping the Flynn case: & # 39; I make the law & # 39; & # 39; s bid
But Flynn turned course last year, hired new lawyers and tried to withdraw his guilty plea. Sometimes depending on conspiracy theories, said the investigators "suppressed the evidence" and said they "have practically bankrupted him and put the whole family through unimaginable stress."
Attorneys for the Department of Justice defended the way the interview was handled, noting that FBI agents gave Flynn "more opportunities" to correct his lies. The judge decided that it was not a secret government plot against Flynn, saying "the record proves" that Flynn was not ambush.

What the Ministry of Justice is saying now:

Its position is now more in line with Trump's views on the matter.

"The frail and changing rationale for his ongoing probe by Mr. Flynn, as well as the irregular procedure that preceded his interview, suggest that the FBI was keen to interview Mr. Flynn regardless of the underlying investigation," the Justice Department said Thursday.

Attorneys from Michael Flynn grab the note showing how the FBI official approached the key interview in the White House

The new filing also noted that FBI agents did not warn Flynn against lying, although it is not necessary. They also noted that Flynn was advised not to bring a lawyer, which raises serious questions, but often happens when people are being questioned by law enforcement.

In a interview with CBS News, Barr said Thursday that he believes the FBI kept its Flynn probe alive in 2017 "with the express purpose of trying to capture, laying a trap for General Flynn."

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