Last week, the Justice Department, led by Attorney General William P. Barr, moved to drop charges against President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Flynn has also been seeking to undo his guilty plea since January, and newly released documents have given him the chance, according to his lawyers.
As a refresher, Flynn, back in 2017, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The new documents show the FBI preparing for Flynn’s interview and debating whether their goal was to“get him to lie.” Flynn’s lawyers call these documents“stunning” new evidence, while other legal experts say these documents merely show standard procedure for law enforcement officials preparing for an interview.
Trump fired Flynn shortly after that FBI interview, for lying to Vice President Pence about Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak. Regardless, Trump has recently suggested he might pardon Flynn. A pardon that, of course, wouldn’t be necessary if the Justice Department is able to drop the case against Flynn altogether.
It turns out, as it often does in our complicated legal system, dropping the charges against Flynn might not be so easy. A U.S. district judge earlier this week put the move on hold, making room for independent groups and legal experts to come in and argue against exonerating Flynn. That judge even asked a retired judge to oppose the Justice Department in all of this.
These legal battles bring our Justice Department into uncharted territory, with boundaries between the department and the president repeatedly tested. And, as these matter tend to go, this isn’t the only news to emerge recently that shines a light on the relationship between federal law enforcement agencies and the president of the United States. This episode of the“Can He Do That?” podcast unpacks the latest news developments in this twisting and turning story, with the help of national security reporter Devlin Barrett.