Judge Sullivan Grants Flynn Dismissal Based on Trump Pardon; Suggests He Otherwise Would Have Denied the Government’s Motion to Dismiss
Good for him. He has no choice but to dismiss the charges, but his analysis of the Government’s original and nakedly corrupt motion to dismiss is excellent and suggests that he would have done the right thing if given the chance.
However, while not conclusory, many of the government’s reasons for why it has decided to reverse course and seek dismissal in this case appear pretextual, particularly in view of the surrounding circumstances. For example, Mr. Flynn was serving as an adviser to President Trump’s transition team during the events that gave rise to the conviction here, and, as this case has progressed, President Trump has not hidden the extent of his interest in this case. According to Mr. Gleeson, between March 2017 and June 2020, President Trump tweeted or retweeted about Mr. Flynn “at least 100 times.” Amicus Br., ECF No. 225 at 66. This commentary has “made clear that the President has been closely following the proceedings, is
personally invested in ensuring that [Mr.] Flynn’s prosecution ends, and has deep animosity toward those who investigated and prosecuted [Mr.] Flynn.” Id.
At the September 29, 2020 motion hearing, Mr. Flynn’s counsel, in response to the Court’s question, stated that she had, within weeks of the proceeding, provided the President with a brief update on the status of the litigation. Hr’g Tr., ECF No. 266 at 56:18-20. Counsel further stated that she requested that the President not issue a pardon. Id. at 56:23-24. However, the President has now pardoned Mr. Flynn for the actions that instigated this case, among other things. Ex. 1 to Consent Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 308-1 at 1. And simultaneous to the President’s “running commentary,” many of the President’s remarks have also been viewed as suggesting a breakdown in the “traditional independence of the Justice Department from the President.” See, e.g., Amicus Br., ECF No. 225 at 67-68; id. at 68 (quoting Excerpts from Trump’s Interview with the Times, N.Y. Times (Dec. 28, 2017), https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/28/us/politics/trumpinterview-excerpts.html) (reporting President Trump’s statement that he enjoys the “absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department”).
Judge Sullivan demolishes the Government’s stated reasons for the dismissal, dismantling the claims of lack of materiality and inability to prove the case as meritless. You’ll have to read his opinion for the full analysis.
The demagogues are out in full force:
Judge Sullivan should be impeached for gross abuse of power. https://t.co/idDLKvGxER
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) December 8, 2020
Being a humorless literalist who simply calls them as he sees them, I called Cotton a dangerous demagogue and left it at that. Popehat had the winning and far more humorous reaction:
Are you going to send the military in?
— SupportTheTroupesHat (@Popehat) December 9, 2020
What has become of the Republican party??