President Donald Trump unloaded on critics and the former Obama Administration in a series of tweets over the weekend, suggesting his predecessors acted criminally in their attempts to discredit former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“The biggest political crime in American history, by far!” the president tweeted.
Last Thursday, the Department of Justice dropped its case against Flynn after internal memos were released that caused major concern about the legality of the investigation of Flynn in 2017.
DOJ Officials indicated via a court filing that “after a considered review of all the facts and circumstances of this case, including newly discovered and disclosed information,” they had concluded that Flynn’s interview by the FBI was “untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn.” In addition, the interview was “conducted without any legitimate investigative basis.”
The top prosecutor on the case, Brandon Van Grack, withdrew from the case without explanation at all, in a brief filing with the court. Documents unsealed last week by the Justice Department revealed agents discussed their motivations for interviewing Flynn in the Russia probe – and discussed whether they wanted to “get him to lie” so he would be fired or even prosecuted. Allies argued he had been set up in a perjury trap. While Flynn did not admit wrongdoing in that interview, he was accused of lying about his contacts with the then-Russian ambassador – to which he pleaded guilty.
Flynn has been trying for months to withdraw his plea and hired a new lawyer to aggressively challenge the prosecution’s case and conduct. There has been no resolution since his original plea, and the case seems to be stuck in the system, even amid speculation about a presidential pardon.
Jeff Jensen, the U.S. attorney who reviewed the Flynn case, recommended dropping the case to Attorney General William Barr last week and formalized the recommendation this week after internal memos that were released raised concerns about the nature of the investigation.
“Through the course of my review of General Flynn’s case, I concluded the proper and just course was to dismiss the case,” Jensen said in a statement. “I briefed Attorney General Barr on my findings, advised him on these conclusions, and he agreed.”
President Trump’s reaction from the White House just minutes after the news from the DOJ surfaced, was a mixture of triumph and disgust towards the unprecedented situation. The president praised his former national security adviser, but also criticized former President Barack Obama and his administration after learning that the Justice Department had dropped its case against Flynn.
“He was an innocent man… Now, in my book, he is an even greater warrior,” Trump said, while criticizing Obama administration officials. “They’re human scum. … It’s treason.”
Trump says he has always believed in Flynn. Even when Flynn resigned from his White House position in 2017 as he was accused of misleading Vice President Mike Pence and other senior White House officials, Trump posted messages of support on his social media account and defended his exit from the White House saying that despite Flynn pleading guilty to lying to the FBI, his actions were lawful.
“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI,” Trump posted. “He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”