President Donald Trump and his supporters have long complained of misconduct by government officials during the Russia collusion probe. Now, Attorney General Bill Barr is stepping up efforts to get to the bottom of those allegations.
Fox News has reported that Barr tasked U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri Jeff Jensen with reviewing the case of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Jensen will be working in close concert with Brandon Van Grack, who served as Flynn’s lead prosecutor, according to the report.
Flynn’s case drags on
In 2017, Flynn was charged with lying to FBI agents when they questioned him about his post-election meeting with Russia’s Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn initially pleaded guilty, but he and his supporters now contend that he was coerced into the plea.
In January, Flynn and his attorney Sidney Powell attempted to withdraw his guilty plea, complaining of “the government’s bad faith, vindictiveness and breach of the plea agreement.”
After multiple delays, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan canceled Flynn’s sentencing last week “until further order of the court.” While supporters have urged Trump to pardon Flynn, the president has not committed to doing so, although he has expressed sympathy.
Barr intervenes in Stone case
The announcement came in the wake of Barr’s decision to intervene in the sentencing of Roger Stone, a long-time Trump ally who was convicted of lying to Congress.
Prosecutors were seeking a surprisingly harsh 7-9 year jail sentence for Stone, who is 67-years-old and has no previous criminal record.
New evidence has also revealed that Stone did not have the benefit of an impartial jury. The jury forewoman, former Memphis City Schools Board President Tomeka Hart, made frequent negative social media posts about Stone and President Trump, some during the course of his trial.
Stone’s prosecution team protested Barr’s decision. As Fox News reported, “Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Washington D.C., Jonathan Kravis, resigned as an assistant U.S. attorney.” Three more prosecutors followed Kravis’s lead and resigned from the case.
To the surprise of no one, Democrats are expressing outrage as well, with some calling for Barr to step down. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said Barr “ought to be ashamed and embarrassed and resign as a result of this action directly interfering in the independent prosecution of Roger Stone.”