House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reacted angrily to the Department of Justice dropping its criminal case against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn Thursday, saying Attorney General William Barr’s “politicization of justice knows no bounds.”
“Barr’s politicization of justice knows no bounds. Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators in the face of overwhelming evidence – but now, Barr’s Justice Department is dropping the case to continue to cover up for the president,” Pelosi said in a statement. “Overruling the Special Counsel is without precedent and without respect for the rule of law.”
Earlier Thursday, the DOJ moved to dismiss its case against Flynn, who pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI regarding his contacts with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak during President Donald Trump’s transition. The retired Army lieutenant general pleaded guilty in 2017 as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into now-debunked collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
The Justice Department in January switched its sentencing recommendation for Flynn from probation to six months in jail, prompting the former Trump official to withdraw his guilty plea, citing prosecutors breaking their plea agreement.
Thursday’s development comes after handwritten notes that were written by FBI officials questioned whether the “goal” was “to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired” — a reference to agents’ interview with Flynn.
Prior to the filing being made public, prosecutor Brandon Van Grack, moved to withdraw from the case.
A couple of months ago, President Trump said he was “strongly considering” pardoning Flynn, suggesting that the FBI and Justice Department lost records related to the case.
Speaking to reporters Thursday in the Oval Office, the president described Flynn as “an innocent man,” “a great gentleman.”
“He was targeted by the Obama administration and he was targeted in order to try and take down a president,” Trump said.
“And I hope a lot of people are going to pay a big price because they’re dishonest, crooked people. They’re scum and I say it a lot, they’re scum, they’re human scum. This should never have happened in this country.”
Trump also criticized the media coverage of Flynn’s case and the Russia investigation, calling on journalists to give back their Pulitzer Prizes.
The UPI contributed to this report.