Writing for the Daily Beast, columnist David Lurie stated the attempt by Donald Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr to let former adviser Michael Flynn walk after pleading guilty to lying to FBI investigators stands a good chance of blowing up in the president's face.
According to Lurie, Barr and Trump picked the wrong judge when they pushed to have Flynn's case dismissed when it was in the final stage.
"It’s a bad idea to try holding a show trial when the judge is not in your pocket but that’s what Trump consigliere William Barr did when his Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss its own case against twice-admitted felon and former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn," Lurie wrote before adding, " While Trump will doubtlessly succeed in protecting Flynn from going to prison, he could do so at the cost of either a drawn-out court battle that will tortuously expose the mendacious nature of the DOJ’s effort to undermine the Russia investigation, or the issuance of a pardon amounting an admission of what the world already knows: that he’s letting a guilty crony off."
"But Barr’s plans to begin his “Obamagate” roll-out with the Flynn motion depended on the trial court making no inquiries whatsoever into the veracity of the government’s new claims about Flynn’s innocence, and about the FBI’s and Mueller prosecutors’ supposed evil doings. And that is where the judge presiding over the case, Emmett Sullivan, has shown himself to be, quite predictably, uncooperative," Lurie explained. "Sullivan, who gained notoriety for uncovering gross misconduct in the corruption prosecution of Republican Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, is well-known for holding the government to its proof in criminal cases. In fact, during 2018, Sullivan ordered the first of what turned out to be many delays in Flynn’s sentencing because he was concerned that Mueller’s prosecutors might have been too lenient in their treatment of Flynn, who was then a cooperating witness. "
Noting that Sullivan brought in another judge to take a hard look at the Justice Department's proposal -- one who doesn't answer to Barr -- Luris suggested it could open up a whole new can of worms for the Trump administration with regard to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of the president.
"The DOJ made plain from the outset that it would have no tolerance for such an inquiry, declaring that the Executive Branch has plenary authority to decide whether or not to dismiss a criminal case in the absence of objection from the defense, even after the defendant has pleaded guilty," he explained, before adding that, should the Justice Department's case be swept away, "Trump and Barr will be placed in quite a difficult position."
"Instead of getting a quick decision rubber-stamping the DOJ’s claim that Flynn, and, derivatively, Trump himself, were the victims of grave unfairness by biased law enforcement officers in Obama’s and Biden’s thrall, the president and Flynn will be forced to endure a potentially lengthy inquiry into Barr’s very flimsy justification for the DOJ’s about-face," Lurie elaborated. "At the least, it seems increasingly likely that the transcripts of Flynn’s calls with the ambassador, which the DOJ successfully prevented the court from ordering to be released in the past, will finally see the light of day."
"Furthermore, the law enforcement personnel that the DOJ defamed, and apparently misrepresented, in its motion papers are also likely to be heard from. Even Flynn’s former, and highly skilled, defense counsel, whom Flynn now effectively (and absurdly) accuses of contributing to his supposed railroading, were ordered to appear again in the court, and may be called upon to provide evidence," wrote before adding, "In short, the motion to dismiss the Flynn case is shaping up to be a disaster for Trump waiting to happen. Furthermore, it is one that could play out over the next several crucial months leading up to the election."
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