President Donald Trump all but forced the hand of the controversial judge in Michael Flynn’s case by issuing a pardon to the retired Army general on Thanksgiving Day.
Judge Emmet Sullivan finally dismissed the Flynn case on Tuesday, calling it “moot” after Trump’s move, the Washington Examiner reported.
Judge dismisses case
Flynn was one of a handful of Trump allies to get nabbed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s dead-end investigation of Russian collusion, and the president’s supporters have long seen him as a martyr figure who was persecuted in a baseless “witch hunt.”
To critics, Judge Sullivan showed prejudice against Flynn in his handling of the former Trump adviser’s long and tortuous criminal case, which originated with innocuous conversations that Flynn had with a Russian ambassador during Trump’s transition in 2016. Sullivan at one point accused Flynn of treason in the courtroom, and he refused to drop the case despite evidence of misconduct by the FBI.
Sullivan finally yielded Tuesday after Trump, following longstanding rumors of such, pardoned the retired general in November.
Flynn plead guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about conversations with a Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, in calls that drew the attention of former President Barack Obama and his top aides. He later withdrew the plea and maintained that he had been set up.
The DOJ sought to dismiss the case this year, saying there was no basis for Flynn’s FBI interview in January 2017.
Judge slams Flynn
Files released this year showed that the agents who interviewed Flynn discussed whether they should “get him to lie,” and that the FBI kept its probe open despite a failure to uncover “derogatory information.” Moreover, the interview came despite the FBI having transcripts of Flynn’s calls.
Revelations about the involvement of Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, and then-FBI Director James Comey in monitoring Flynn raised further questions about a wider conspiracy to derail Trump. Comey confided to Obama that he felt Flynn’s conversations were “legit.”
In a parting shot, Sullivan begrudged Flynn’s “political” pardon.
“The history of the Constitution, its structure, and the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the pardon power make clear that President Trump’s decision to pardon Mr. Flynn is a political decision, not a legal one,” Sullivan said.
“Because the law recognizes the President’s political power to pardon, the appropriate course is to dismiss this case as moot,” he added.