Ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn remains in legal purgatory. What’s happened to him is tragic. The suffering being prolonged by the courts is criminal. Flynn pleaded guilty to bogus “lying to the FBI” charges, part of the Russian collusion delusion that had engulfed the Obama DOJ. This circus act spilled into the Trump administration; whose Special Counsel investigation (SCO) picked up where the FBI left off. They pressured Flynn, reportedly threatening him with financial ruin. There was also the sleazy way the SCO got around attorney-client privilege for Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chair. Allegedly, someone within the SCO leaked a fake story about Manafort being under a FISA warrant, which was not true. This type of surveillance was never even considered, but it led to a judge forcing Manafort’s own attorney to testify against him. In reality, this was a backdoor attempt to see if there was Trump-Russia collusion. The heavy-handed and highly unethical actions must’ve spooked Flynn’s original legal team, who offered up this plea deal.
With Flynn’s new legal team under Sidney Powell, a few things happened. One, Powell said that there’s evidence of a plot against Flynn, which she alluded to in October. Second, those documents were finally revealed, showing that James Comey and other officials planned to entrap the former general, despite the lack of evidence regarding Russian collusion. In fact, the Department of Justice’s motion to dismiss the charges clearly outlines a pattern of gross overreach and prosecutorial misconduct on behalf of the Obama DOJ. They had no reason to interview Flynn. They did. The agents also felt that Flynn didn’t lie to them. And all of this stemmed from the most absurd reason of all: the Trump dossier, which is debunked Democrat-funded political opposition research and the fact that Flynn had a phone call with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. On the latter, that was his job. A phone call that was within his duties as a national security official was weaponized against him. It was a clown show.
There is no case. The prosecutor resigned. No party has opposed the DOJ’s motion, but Judge Emmet Sullivan, who is presiding over this case, isn’t giving up. No, sir. After calling Flynn a traitor in open court, he can’t cave. He instead found a retired judge, John Gleeson, to fight the DOJ motion, see if they can nab Flynn on perjury, and has permitted amicus briefs from anti-Trump lawyers to be filed. Flynn’s team has filed a writ of mandamus petition to remove Sullivan, drop the case, and offer Flynn immediate relief from this nightmare.
The DC Court of Appeals said the judge has 10 days to respond. That’s huge. DC-based lawyer Aaron Worthing tweeted that this could an indicator of how the court is leaning, given the accelerated timetable here. He posited that part of the mandamus might be granted, notably the removal of Sullivan. Worthing noted the absurdity about his tirade about Flynn committing treason since he didn’t commit that crime either.
Here is the docket & order. A court of appeals grants a mandamus only after the judge has had an opportunity to respond. Here the Circuit ORDERS Sullivan to respond. The short time-table recognizes the seriousness of the issue to the proper administration of justice.@POTUS pic.twitter.com/0VJVVBmvM0— Sidney Powell ??????? (@SidneyPowell1) May 21, 2020
This verifies what I said before. This is an unusually fast timetable, and that she seems to be indicating there are some tea leaves suggesting they are leaning Flynn’s way. 1/?— (((Aaron “Worthing” Walker))) (@AaronWorthing) May 21, 2020
Cc @PolitiBunny @wjjhoge @mVespa1 https://t.co/muvE84SvuN
But you might reasonably ask “does that mean they are clearly right ask for it or clearly wrong?” Well, if a mandamus is denied, it can be denied without involving the judge. But traditionally if they grant it they give the judge a chance to speak, first. 3/?— (((Aaron “Worthing” Walker))) (@AaronWorthing) May 21, 2020
5/? I suspect the simplest and most obvious way to deal with it is to remove Sullivan from the case. The mere fact that he suggested that Flynn committed treason is frankly unhinged. You hear it all the time on the Internet, but judges should know better— (((Aaron “Worthing” Walker))) (@AaronWorthing) May 21, 2020
7/? A lot of foolish people would say “but Russia is our enemy.” But in fact Russia is not our enemy in any legally recognizable way. We haven’t declared war on them, or passed an AUMF. So to suggest Flynn committed treason is nuts.— (((Aaron “Worthing” Walker))) (@AaronWorthing) May 21, 2020
8/8 Of course, the circuit court might be thinking of a number of approaches, but it seems like that’s the simplest one. With a new judge, you probably end this circus /end— (((Aaron “Worthing” Walker))) (@AaronWorthing) May 21, 2020
“There are only two ways to commit it. The first requires making war against America, which Flynn has never been accused of. The second requires aid and comfort to an enemy,” he wrote.
Lawyer John Reeves also had a lengthy Twitter thread where he also pointed out that the timetable to respond suggest that the circuit court is disturbed by Sullivan’s actions, adding that the fact that they’ve ordered the judge to personally respond means Flynn’s legal team has already surpassed a big hurdle. They do have the right to dismiss the writ outright.
1) The wording of the DC Circuit's order directing Judge Sullivan to personally respond to @SidneyPowell1's writ shows it is deeply troubled by Judge Sullivan's actions. #appellatetwitter pic.twitter.com/pnIpMnZMTx— John M. Reeves (@reeveslawstl) May 21, 2020
4) Rule 21(b)(1) allows the DC Circuit to deny the writ petition outright, without asking for a response. This is what happens with the vast majority of writ petitions. #appellatetwitter pic.twitter.com/R9gJjnhQmk— John M. Reeves (@reeveslawstl) May 21, 2020
7) If the DC Circuit ordered a response and did nothing else, that alone would be a huge deal. But the DC Circuit didn't stop there. #appellatetwitter— John M. Reeves (@reeveslawstl) May 21, 2020
21) In short, of all the options available to the DC Circuit for ruling on @SidneyPowell1 's writ, the DC Circuit, chose the most extreme, rare, and drastic of them. #appellatetwitter pic.twitter.com/bY1gY51ffd— John M. Reeves (@reeveslawstl) May 21, 2020
23) This promises to be anything but dull going forward. #appellatetwitter— John M. Reeves (@reeveslawstl) May 21, 2020
1) Ct. of Appeals mentions case and rule suggesting it's up to Exec Branch (DOJ), not courts, to decide whether to prosecute;— Elie Honig (@eliehonig) May 21, 2020
2) Ct. sets quicker timeline than Sullivan did, so he won't get benefit of amicus briefs;
3) 2 of 3 judges on panel have ruled pro-Exec Branch / Trump.
Yet, as Reeves wrote, “of all the options available to the DC Circuit for ruling on Sidney Powell’s writ, the DC Circuit, chose the most extreme, rare, and drastic of them.” He said that this is bound to be “anything but dull” from here going forward
Good news for Flynn that’s for sure. We’ll circle back to this soon.