The Department of Justice dropped all charges against Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn on Thursday. But government watchdogs called the decision “an outrage” and condemned Attorney General William Barr’s decision.
Flynn was being prosecuted for “lying to the FBI in 2017 about his discussions with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 election,” Common Dreams reported. He plead guilty, which struck him a deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller during the Russia investigation, but filed a motion to withdraw his plea in January. In February, Barr appointed an outside prosecutor to review the case against Flynn.
U.S. Attorney Timothy Shea said in a filing on Thursday that “The government is not persuaded that the Jan. 24, 2017, interview was conducted with a legitimate investigative basis and therefore does not believe Mr. Flynn’s statements were material even if untrue.”
Government watchdog groups called the DOJ’s decision an abuse of power and demand Barr’s removal from office.
“We are a nation of laws yet William Barr, the nation’s top law enforcement official, has routinely abused the powers of his office to undermine the rule of law for political advantage of the president who appointed him,” Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause, a national advocacy group, said.
Hobert Flynn went on to call Barr “a cancer on justice in this nation” and said he has turned the DOJ “into a political tool of a corrupt presidency.”
Demands for the resignation or impeachment of Barr, who replaced Jeff Sessions as Attorney General in February 2019, continue to mount as his decision not to prosecute Flynn is just another of his various abuses of his office, watchdogs said.
“The unprecedented decision to drop the prosecution of Michael Flynn, despite his guilty plea, is yet another blatant abuse of the powers of his office to cover up the misdeeds and crimes of the Trump administration,” Hobert Flynn said. “Barr’s attempt at a Soviet-style whitewash of the Mueller report and other abuses of his office led Common Cause in December to call on Congress to impeach Attorney General Barr.
While government watchdogs renewed their call to Congress to impeach Barr, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) denounced the DOJ’s decision to drop Flynn’s case on Thursday, but didn’t confirm whether any action would be taken by Congress.
“Americans expect and deserve an Attorney General who enforces the law impartially, not one who abuses his office to accommodate the whims of a president who believes he has unlimited power,” Hobert Flynn said.