Sunday, May 24, 2020

Russiagate: Flynn Judge Lawyers Up

Wow, in one of the most bizarre turns in an already weird legal case, Judge Sullivan has hired an outside attorney to help him make his case to the appeals court, that what? We don't really know. Is it to make the case that Flynn should not be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea (which he nominally hasn't decided yet), or that the DOJ not be allowed to drop the prosecution? That he be allowed to hire a retired judge as a prosecutor to keep the case alive through the election? Anyway, from Wapoo, Federal judge hires high-powered D.C. attorney to defend his actions in Flynn case
The federal judge who refused a Justice Department request to immediately drop the prosecution of former Trump adviser Michael Flynn has hired a high-profile trial lawyer to argue his reasons for investigating whether dismissing the case is legally or ethically appropriate.

In a rare step that adds to this criminal case’s already unusual path, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan has retained Beth Wilkinson to represent him in defending his decision to a federal appeals court in Washington, according to a person familiar with the hire who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. The U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is now examining the judge’s actions and the larger case against Flynn after lawyers for President Trump’s former national security adviser asked the court to force Sullivan to toss Flynn’s guilty plea.

Wilkinson, known for her top-notch legal skills and get-results style, is expected to file a notice with the court in the coming week about representing the judge. She declined to comment when reached Friday evening. Sullivan also declined to comment through his office.

A federal judge doesn’t typically hire private counsel to respond to an appeals court, and yet so much about Flynn’s case has been a departure from the norm. A defendant doesn’t normally plead guilty under oath and then try to withdraw that admission, as Flynn did. The Justice Department almost never drops a case once it has essentially won a conviction, a signed guilty plea, as Attorney General William P. Barr ordered earlier this month.

About two weeks ago, Sullivan pushed off Barr’s request and paused Flynn’s case to invite outside groups and a retired federal judge to argue against the Justice Department’s proposal.

Sullivan also asked retired New York judge John Gleeson to examine whether Flynn may have committed perjury while pleading guilty to lying about his pre-inauguration contacts with Russia’s ambassador. Flynn’s lawyers then accused Sullivan of bias and asked the U.S. Court of Appeals to intervene.

On Thursday, that higher court took the extraordinary step of ordering Sullivan to answer within 10 days. The court also invited the Justice Department to comment.
It would seem Sullivan doesn't have much much confidence in his ability to respond to the appeals court. Maybe that should give him some sympathy for Flynn's predicament. Curiously, Beth Wilkinson is both Dick Gregory's wife, and Hillary Clinton's staffers and  Brett Kavanaugh's attorneys, among other things. I wonder who is paying her what is likely to be considerable bill, us or Sullivan? If you can't read more from WaPoo, here's a link to CNN: Judge in Michael Flynn case hires prominent DC law firm to help with appeal. Insty quips JUDGE SULLIVAN ISN’T DOING MUCH TO UPHOLD THE DIGNITY AND INTEGRITY OF THE JUDICIARY: ‘What a circus’: Techno Fog and others weigh in on Judge Emmet Sullivan hiring an attorney to represent him. Law and Crime, Michael Flynn Judge Hires Brett Kavanaugh’s Lawyer to Argue Against Dismissal of Prosecution. Twitchy, ‘What a circus’: Techno Fog and others weigh in on Judge Emmet Sullivan hiring an attorney to represent him
And of course, sundance at CTH, Judge Emmet Sullivan Hires “High-Powered” DC Lawyer to Represent His Interests in Flynn Case… harks back to some early weirdness in the Flynn case.
A federal judge hiring a well connected lawyer to write his response to a DC circuit court appeals panel is the part that’s interesting. There’s no guarantee the appeals court will accept such a response; but that’s also another issue. Bottom line: Judge Sullivan is importing a lawyer to represent his interests. Very unusual.
. . .
Additionally, we shall not play games and ignore the obvious.

Judge Emmet Sullivan is well aware of the reason why former Judge Rudolph “Rudy” Contreras was recused from the Flynn case; only days after accepting the first plea agreement, and less than 72 hours after the Peter Strzok and Lisa Page text messages publicly surfaced.
Lisa Page: “Rudy is on the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court]! Did you know that?” “Just appointed two months ago””..
Peter Strzok: “I did. We talked about it before and after. I need to get together with him.”…
On November 30th, 2017, Mike Flynn signed a guilty plea; ostensibly admitting lying to investigators. The plea was accepted by Judge Rudolph “Rudy” Contreras; who is also a FISA court judge. Six days later, December 7, 2017, Judge Contreras “was recused” from the case without explanation.

If the conflict -which required recusal- existed on December 7, 2017, wouldn’t that same conflict have existed days earlier on November 30th?

The same DC circuit now ordering Judge Sullivan to explain his decision-making, is the same DC circuit that previously recused and replaced Judge Contreras from the Flynn case. None of this, including the specific tone of the panel in their order, is disconnected from the larger background.

So when we take everything in total, the decision by Sullivan to hire a high-profile and well connected DC lawyer to represent his interests in the Flynn case…. well, it looks to me like Sullivan just hired himself a defense attorney.

The phase of the “resistance” that federal Judge Emmet Sullivan was participating in, and had a role to play, is now almost totally engulfed in sunlight. With few options for deniability and justification remaining, Sullivan has hired himself a lawyer.
Matt Vespa at Town Hall wonders  So, Is That How the Special Counsel Office Avoided Turning Over the FBI’s 302 Report to Michael Flynn's Lawyers?
The interview would have been part of a 302 report, which has to be filed five days after speaking with those who are part of a federal investigation. It took three weeks for Flynn’s 302 to be filed, where the report was edited by those who weren’t even there, a major departure in department policy. Flynn’s legal team wanted it. The SCO refused and for good reason. This so-called case was probably over before it began because the 302 would have included citation that the agents present felt that Flynn didn’t lie, gutting the entire plot against him. To deploy countermeasures and prevent evidence of Flynn’s innocence to be exposed, the SCO leaked the legal threats against Flynn’s son, who works with his father in lobbying efforts and was on the campaign trail with him. Keep this up and your family will be locked up. Undercover Huber, who elaborated in-depth on the Manafort case mentioned above, did a lengthy Twitter thread about the FBI’s 302 on Flynn and why those who wanted to get Flynn and damage the Trump administration would want to keep this buried forever. . . .
CuKatie Pavlich  at Town  Hall VIP  says Obama Had Plans to Stop Flynn, but as much as I admire her, it ain't worth $49 a year to find those plans when you can get speculation for free from people like Dr. John at Flopping Aces, Flynn was set up by obama: sanctions were the bait. An interesting theory, backed up only by the timing. Sanctions announced while Flynn was travelling abroad, allowing unlimited capture of his phone calls.

Daniel Payne and John Solomon at John Solomon's JTN, FBI opened Russia probe on third-hand 'suggestion' of collusion, declassified memo shows. Or as we used to say "good enough for government work."
The FBI's probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia was opened on a third-hand "suggestion" of wrongdoing and the thinnest of suspicions that illegal foreign lobbying had occurred, according to a declassified memo released Friday that shows agents immediately flagged the strong limitations of their evidence.

The July 31, 2016 electronic communication that officially open the counterintelligence investigation codenamed Crossfire Hurricane was obtained by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.

It shows the criminal basis for opening the probe was suspected violations of the Foreign Agent Registration Act, but it did not identify a single episode that it said violated the law.
FARA needs to be eliminated, on First Amendment grounds.
Rather it focused on a "suggestion" passed on by Australian ambassador Alexander Downer that Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos might be coordinating with Russia the release of damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Downer had heard the information about the Russians during a bar conversation in May 2016 from Papadopoulos, who had heard it two months earlier from a European professor who had heard it from Russians allegedly.

The memo shows the case agent, Peter Strzok, expressed some doubts and reservations about the limitations of the evidence even as he opened the probe.

The memo cited concerns about "suggestions from the Russians that they (the Russians) could assist the Trump campaign with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton."

Papadopoulos "suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia" that it had damaging information, the memo said. But Strzok's memo immediately noted the limitations of the allegations forwarded from the Australians. "It was unclear whether he or the Russians were referring to material acquired publicly of through other means. It was also unclear how Mr. Trump’s team reacted to the offer," the memo stated.

Kevin Brock, the former chief of intelligence for the FBI, said the electronic communication did not meet the bureau's rigorous standards for predicating the opening of a criminal or counterintelligence case.
Matt Margolis at PJ Media,  Obamagate Gets Worse With DAMNING Declassified Memo
“There is nothing in the [electronic communication] that meets the traditional thresholds for opening up a [Foreign Agents Registration Act] or [counterintelligence] investigation,” Kevin Brock, the former chief of intelligence for the FBI, told Just the News. “It appears hastily constructed.”

According to Brock, there are other red flags contained in the memo, including Peter Strzok’s drafting and approving the opening of his own investigation and segregating the memo, preventing interagency oversight.

When asked by Just The News if he would have approved the opening of Crossfire Hurricane based on the memo, Brock said he would not have. “Not in a million years. I wouldn’t have approved it as a squad supervisor either. This would have set off alarm bells in any FBI field for not meeting our standards for a predicate.”
Susan Stamper Brown at Town Hall, Obamagate: Obama’s Ship of Lies and Deceit Has Run Aground. I don't think it's on the rocks, but having hit Bill Barr's iceberg it's taking on water and listing a little. The Media is manning the pumps and working as hard as they can to keep it afloat until November. Over at Fox, Bill Maher whines says he now regrets Trump's impeachment: 'It just emboldened him'. That which does not kill him . . .

And finally, Capt. Ed at Hot Air reports that Jeff Sessions is tired of being the scapegoat, “You’re Damn Fortunate I Did”: Sessions Blasts Trump Over Recusal Criticism In Late-Night Twitter Fight
Session's was a good man, over his head.

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