The Department of Justice (DOJ) is moving to drop its prosecution of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
In a court filing on Thursday, the DOJ said it did not believe it could make the case that Flynn lied to investigators. Flynn had previously pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI, but earlier this year sought to withdraw his plea.
In its motion to drop the prosecution, the Justice Department said it made the decision “after a considered review of all the facts and circumstances of this case, including newly discovered and disclosed information.”
“We do not believe that the Government can prove either the relevant false statements or their materiality beyond a reasonable doubt,” the department said.
The motion added, “The Government is not persuaded that the January 24, 2017 interview was conducted with a legitimate investigative basis and therefore does not believe Mr. Flynn’s statements were material even if untrue.”
It continued, “The Government has determined, pursuant to the Principles of Federal Prosecution and based on an extensive review and careful consideration of the circumstances, that continued prosecution of this case would not serve the interests of justice.”
News that the Justice Department was looking to drop the case came after a series of documents shed new light the government’s handling of the case against Flynn, as IJR reported.
Documents released on April 30, 2020, showed that the FBI was ready to close its case against Flynn on January 4, 2017.
JUST IN: New FLYNN documents show the FBI had drafted a document to formally close the case against him on 1/4.— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) April 30, 2020
But 20 minutes after it circulated, STRZOK and other agents put the brakes on it. pic.twitter.com/sLhMBTzGEr
The document shows the FBI repeatedly turned to other agencies/sources for any info on Flynn's activities that might show "derogatory" info re: connections to Russia. They came up empty but for what a source described as a questionable cab/train ride. pic.twitter.com/BIka8bQOIO— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) April 30, 2020
However, the former head of the FBI’s counterintelligence department directed that the case remain open.
That was roughly three weeks before agents interviewed Flynn at the White House. Flynn was later charged with making false statements to the FBI during that interview.
But new questions were raised about the government’s case against Flynn after internal documents, which were released on April 29, appeared to show that the FBI discussed getting Flynn to lie during the interview so that “we can prosecute him or get him fired.”
Additionally, FBI officials weighed whether they should try to get Flynn to “admit to breaking the Logan Act” during his conversations with the Russian ambassador during the transition.
In its filing on Thursday, the Justice Department said that Flynn’s 2016 conversations with the Russian ambassador were “entirely appropriate” and did not “warrant either continuing that existing counterintelligence investigation or opening a new criminal investigation.”
“I think he’s exonerated. I’ve never seen anything like it. What they did. What they wrote. … It’s just disgraceful,” he added.
On Thursday, Trump responded to the new development in the Flynn case and called him an “innocent man” who was “targeted” by “human scum.”
“He is a great gentleman. He was targeted by the Obama administration and he was targeted in order to try and take down a president, and what they’ve done is a disgrace, and I hope a big price is going to be paid,” Trump said.