Courtroom Showdown: DOJ Tries To Defend Decision To Drop Charges Against Trump Buddy Flynn

September 29, 2020
TPM Illustration/Getty Images
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September 29, 2020

This is the moment we’ve been waiting for. It’s a rare instance when politicization and corruption at Attorney General Bill Barr’s Justice Department see their day in court, and where a federal judge has the chance to block the DOJ’s unprecedented decision to drop a damaging case brought against a close ally of President Trump’s. 

And for the DOJ, this was unexpected. District Judge Emmett Sullivan refused to go along with the Department’s move to dismiss its case against Michael Flynn in May, instead appointing former federal judge John Gleeson to argue against the government’s motion.

Flynn, the government, and Gleeson are today presenting arguments before Sullivan about why the case should be dismissed, an eventuality against which Flynn’s defense team and the DOJ strenuously fought throughout a bruising summer appellate battle. But a full appeals court panel sent the case back to Sullivan, setting up today’s hearing: a chance for an impartial judge to examine whether the DOJ’s unprecedented decision to drop charges for a political buddy of the President can be permitted. 

Follow along below.

What to Watch

  • Judge Sullivan is hearing the case today after his decision to appoint Gleeson to contest the DOJ's decision was extensively examined by the D.C. court of appeals this summer.
  • That scrutiny — and criticism from some appellate judges — may have an effect on Sullivan's approach to today's case.
  • At the same time, the arguments come after the Justice Department has been selectively handing over files from the Flynn investigation to the former national security adviser's attorney Sidney Powell.
  • On Monday night, that ignited a small firestorm when Peter Strzok, a former FBI official on the Flynn case, said that a page of his notes Powell had filed in the case had been altered.
  • The DOJ will also be forced to address the allegations of politicization head-on at today's hearing, as the federal government accounts for why it dropped an important prosecution that angered the President.
More Less

This is the moment we’ve been waiting for. It’s a rare instance when politicization and corruption at Attorney General Bill Barr’s Justice Department see their day in court, and where a federal judge has the chance to block the DOJ’s unprecedented decision to drop a damaging case brought against a close ally of President Trump’s. 

And for the DOJ, this was unexpected. District Judge Emmett Sullivan refused to go along with the Department’s move to dismiss its case against Michael Flynn in May, instead appointing former federal judge John Gleeson to argue against the government’s motion.

Flynn, the government, and Gleeson are today presenting arguments before Sullivan about why the case should be dismissed, an eventuality against which Flynn’s defense team and the DOJ strenuously fought throughout a bruising summer appellate battle. But a full appeals court panel sent the case back to Sullivan, setting up today’s hearing: a chance for an impartial judge to examine whether the DOJ’s unprecedented decision to drop charges for a political buddy of the President can be permitted. 

Follow along below.

Notable Replies

  1. This is gonna be good.

  2. No matter what, if DOJ loses, they’ll just kick it up to the Conservative Supreme Court of the United States.

    aka CONSCOTUS.

  3. The CONSCOTUS exists. If it prevails it would be because 60% are cowed by 40%. We cannot let that happen.

  4. Will TPM have the live audio stream??? Do not see the link.

  5. Avatar for JorgeP JorgeP says:

    First question should be - “when was the last time the DOJ dropped the charges against someone who plead guilty twice?”
    Maybe it’s common.

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