Attorney General William Barr appeared on CBS News on Friday to explain the Justice Department’s decision to drop charges against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Speaking with host Catherine Herridge, the attorney general dropped a bombshell: because Flynn’s statements were not related to any FBI counterintelligence investigation, he didn’t actually commit a crime, Barr argued. Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI during its investigation into alleged Trump–Russia collusion, an allegation that was later found to have no basis.
“Well, you know, people sometimes plead to things that turn out not to be crimes… And the Department of Justice [DOJ] is not persuaded that this was material to any legitimate counterintelligence investigation. So it was not a crime,” Barr concluded Friday, according to a transcript from CBS.
When Herridge asked Barr whether he was “doing the president’s bidding” in dropping the charges against Flynn, the AG insisted, “I’m doing my duty under the law, as I see it.”
Schiff explodes over dropped charges
Allies of President Donald Trump have argued that Flynn was forced into taking a guilty plea after the FBI trapped him in a lie, a plea he has since tried to rescind. Some say he decided to plead guilty to lying after the FBI threatened to indict his son.
Of course, those facts didn’t stop House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) from angrily reacting to the news that the main indictment to come out of the Trump–Russia collusion investigation would now become history.
“This dismissal does not exonerate [Flynn],” Schiff tweeted Thursday. “But it does incriminate Bill Barr.” Schiff also said the dismissal was “the worst politicization of the Justice Department in its history.”
Pelosi jumps on Barr-bashing bandwagon
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also jumped on the Barr-bashing bandwagon Friday. “Attorney General Barr’s politicization of justice knows no bounds,” Pelosi said in a statement, according to The Hill.
She went on: “Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators in the face of overwhelming evidence — but now, Attorney General Barr’s Justice Department is dropping the case to continue to cover up for the [p]resident.”
The DOJ makes its move
The DOJ, for its part, has said the charges were dropped “after a considered review of all the facts and circumstances of this case, including newly discovered and disclosed information,” Fox News reported.
The decision came after what Fox described as “internal memos from the FBI” were released “that raised questions about the motives behind the investigation, which led to Flynn’s guilty plea,” Fox said.
But Democrats aren’t concerned with any of that. If anything, it’s now become clear that they’re terrified of what U.S. Attorney John Durham and others in the Justice Department will find in their “investigation of the investigators.”