Federal prosecutors appear to have changed their minds about seeking jail time for former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. And in MSNBC personality Rachel Maddow’s mind, that’s reason to suspect malfeasance at the highest level.
“The plot thickens,” Maddow tweeted on Thursday, responding to Attorney General Bill Barr’s decision to appoint Tim Shea to the role of U.S. Attorney for D.C., according to the Washington Examiner. “Barr now moves to install one of his top aides as the new U.S. Attorney in the office prosecuting Flynn.”
“The plot thickens”
Maddow first posted a tweet Wednesday questioning “what happened” that changed Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors’ minds when it comes to Michael Flynn.
“[Twenty-two] days ago, DOJ prosecutors in the Mike Flynn case were asking for a sentence of imprisonment. Now they say they’re not,” Maddow wrote. “What happened in the last 22 days?”
Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI, a plea that he is now attempting to withdraw, according to National Review. “When FBI agents came to the White House on [Jan.] 24, 2017, I did not lie to them,” the retired Army general said in a filing this week.
He went on: “I believed I was honest with them to the best of my recollection at the time. I still don’t remember if I discussed sanctions on a phone call with Ambassador [Sergey] Kislyak nor do I remember if we discussed the details of a U.N. vote on Israel.”
Barr’s pick for prosecutor
Ignoring Flynn’s assertion of innocence, Maddow implied Thursday that the change in federal prosecutors’ stance suggests chicanery at the Justice Department, and she pointed to Barr as the source of the alleged “plot” after he announced this week that he was tapping Shea as interim U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
“Tim brings to this role extensive knowledge and expertise in law enforcement matters as well as an unwavering dedication to public service, reflected in his long and distinguished career in state and federal government,” Barr declared in a statement Thursday. “His reputation as a fair prosecutor, skillful litigator, and excellent manager is second-to-none, and his commitment to fighting violent crime and the drug epidemic will greatly benefit the city of Washington.”
Barr also had kind words in his statement for departing U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu, who he said had “served with distinction as U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia since 2017, and has been nominated to a new role at the Department of Treasury.”
The perfect fit
Much to Maddow’s dismay, Barr isn’t the only one touting his new appointment. Shea’s selection won praise from Jim Pasco, the executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police, who told the Associated Press that Shea is a “definitive public servant” who “has a real reverence for the law and a real dedication to making communities safer.”
Republican Sen. Susan Collins (ME) was similarly enthusiastic about Shea’s new role, telling the AP that he “did an outstanding job leading in-depth investigations into issues ranging from consumer protection to government waste, fraud, and abuse” while working for the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
“With his decades of legal experience in both the private and public sectors, Tim has a wealth of knowledge that will serve him well in his new role,” Collins added.