Thursday, June 25, 2020

Russiagate: Appeals Court Finds for Flynn

A couple of pieces of news today. First, of course, Axios, Appeals court orders judge to dismiss case against Michael Flynn. WaPoo,  Appeals court orders judge to dismiss criminal case against Michael Flynn  and  Brooke Singman from Fox, Appeals court orders Flynn case dismissal, after years-long legal saga.
A federal appeals court on Wednesday ordered a lower court to allow the case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to be dismissed, as requested by the Justice Department -- likely ending the years-long legal saga stemming from the Russia investigation.

The abrupt ending came in a 2-1 ruling and order from judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

This was the result of an appeal from Flynn's lawyers asking for a so-called writ of mandamus -- essentially an order telling a government official to carry out a certain duty -- directing District Judge Emmet Sullivan to approve the DOJ's motion to dismiss.

Sullivan did not immediately grant that motion and instead sought to hold hearings on the matter, angering Flynn allies.

The unusual move from Sullivan to keep the case alive despite prosecutors' wishes was preceded by an unusual move from the DOJ itself to drop the charges against Flynn even after he had pleaded guilty -- saying the FBI interview that led to his charge of lying to investigators about his contacts with Russia's ambassador had no "legitimate investigative basis."

It's unclear whether Sullivan could try to appeal to the full appeals court or even to the Supreme Court in order to keep the case alive. The next step otherwise would likely be for Sullivan to comply.
Of course, it's not necessarily over. Sullivan has 21 days or so to stall, and either appeal the ruling or allow someone else on the appeals courts to do it for him. My guess is he will do so, since he's essentially forfeited any pretense of objectivity in this case and has gone "full resistance".

Reactions? CBD at Ace, with flaming skull, General Flynn Finally Receives Some Justice...  Ace himself, in red type, DC Circuit Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Flynn, Directing Rogue #Resistance Judge Sullivan to Grant the Government's Motion to Dismss the Charges
The District Court ruled for Flynn on two of his motions: To dismiss the amicus hearing, and to order Sullivan to dismiss the charges. It ruled against him as far as getting his case reassigned to someone other than this God-complexed imbecile.

But reassigning the case might have been a mercy to Sullivan -- now he's forced to dismiss the case himself.

People are wondering if this idiot is going to show "defiance" (as Andy McCarthy called it, I think) to the District Court's order and still hold his own hearing (without amicus involvement). He is ordered to dismiss the case; but the court didn't specify "immediately." He could continue campaigning for his job as a CNN legal analyst by fulminating for several days about government abuse and who knows, maybe even nooses he saw on his tie rack.
Victory Girls, Appeals Court Agrees With DOJ About Flynn.  Capt. Ed at Hot Air, Breaking: Appellate Court Orders End To Flynn Prosecution
Now the question will be whether this goes any further. Sullivan hired outside counsel to represent him in this appeal, an extraordinary (but not entirely unprecedented) move. Does that signal his willingness to keep fighting, even with both parties to this prosecution in agreement on dismissal? Sullivan could theoretically demand an en banc hearing, or appeal to the Supreme Court. He’d have a lot more luck with the former over the latter, but the odds are long either way. His appointment of Gleeson, and Gleeson’s antics afterward, probably did more damage to Sullivan’s standing with his peers than anything else in this argument. Indeed, absent Gleeson’s actions, this court might not have issued a mandamus writ at all.
Via Wombat's In The Mailbox: 06.24.20 EBL: Flynn Free, Judge Sullivan Chastised By Appeals Court, Don Surber: Court Stops The Railroading Of General Flynn, and (presaging the next topic) The Geller Report: Newly Released Strzok Notes Directly Implicate Obama & Biden In Flynn’s Persecution and Scott Johnson at Powerline,  Judge Sullivan ordered to dismiss Flynn case 
The Flynn case constitutes a sidebar to the biggest political scandal in American history by far. One can only hope that this is, as it should be, the end of the road for this utterly disgraceful case.
WaEx, Rush Limbaugh 'stunned' as Michael Flynn calls radio show to celebrate appeals court victory

Sundance at CTH, Flynn Case Update – Appeals Court Orders Judge Sullivan to Dismiss Flynn Case… and links Sidney Powell Discusses Latest Flynn Developments With Lou Dobbs…

Which is a pretty good segue into our next topic, the newly revealed Peter Strzok notes seem to suggest that (not unexpectedly) the Flynn persecution was being directed from the very top, by Obama (with a little help from Joe Biden). Sean Davis and Mollie Hemingway at Da Fed, Explosive New FBI Notes Confirm Obama Directed Anti-Flynn Operation
The new notes, which record Comey’s accounting to Strzok of the meeting’s substance, constitute definitive evidence that Obama himself was personally directing significant aspects of a criminal investigation into his political enemy’s top foreign policy adviser. An image of the notes is reproduced below. This is a rough transcript of the unredacted portion of the notes:
NSA-D-DAG = [Flynn cuts?]. Other countries
D-DAG: lean forward on [unclass?]
VP: “Logan Act”
P: These are unusual times
VP: I’ve been on the intel cmte for ten years and I never
P: Make sure you look at things + have the right people on it
P: Is there anything I shouldn’t be telling transition team?
D: Flynn –> Kislyak calls but appear legit
[illegible] Happy New Year. Yeah right
“Make sure you look at things and have the right people on it,” Obama is quoted as saying.

Comey’s description that the Flynn-Kislyak phone calls appear “legit,” shorthand for “legitimate,” is also in the notes. Until this week, this exculpatory information was withheld from Flynn and his defense team, multiple congressional committees, and the American public. A lengthy campaign to illegally leak selectively edited defamatory information through media accessories damaged the Trump administration and spurred the appointment of a special counsel to investigate anyone associated with the Trump campaign.

According to Strzok’s notes, Biden explicitly referenced the Logan Act, an 18th-century law that forbids certain political speech from private citizens. The law, even if it were constitutional, would not apply to a national security adviser for the newly elected president of the United States. Biden had previously denied that he knew anything about the investigation into Flynn.
Twitchy,  ‘THIS is DAMNING’: Peter Strzok handwritten notes Gen. Flynn legal defense called ‘totally exculpatory’ are released, and WHOA (paging Joe Biden!) has a long collection of Twitter reactions worth reading. Capt. Ed, Newly Released Strzok Notes Finger Biden For Logan Act Probe? "Did the Department of Justice set a perjury trap of sorts for … Joe Biden?" Ace. Explosive Newly Released FBI Notes Prove Obama and Biden Ordered the Political Hit on General Flynn, and That Biden Himself Suggested the Logan Act as a Pretext "All the Mocha Messiah's Men." Matt Vespa at Town Hall, Obama's Marching Order on Flynn Revealed in Peter Strzok's Notes: 'Have The Right People On' It. Have the Right People on it is not the same as "Do This By the Book", as Susan Rice claimed Obama directed.
Insty, MAYBE HE’S FAKING DEMENTIA SO HE CAN SAY HE DOESN’T REMEMBER: Joe Biden May Have Personally Raised Idea to Investigate Flynn.  Sundance goes out on a limb and call it Agent Strzok CYA Memo? – Strzok Notes Indicate Obama White House Involvement in Targeting Michael Flynn… Just following orders.
My hunch is these notes are FBI Agent Peter Strzok’s CYA memo for the targeting of Lt. General Michael Flynn.
  • Comey’s memos were Comey’s CYA.
  • Susan Rice’s memo was the White House CYA.
  • I now believe Strzok’s notes are Peter Strzoks’ CYA.
Everyone involved knew the targeting of incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was sketchy at best, seriously political, and potentially unlawful at worst.
If it was a CYA memo, why was it so hard to find?

But (in best Billy Mays voice) Wait, There's More! John Solomon at JTN has a list of Seven big hints Barr has dropped about Durham’s investigation of the Russia investigators none of which should surprise regular readers:
1. Timetable: Durham’s investigation has been slowed by the pandemic. But some action is expected by end of summer, and the probe could stretch beyond Election Day. . .
2. Barr believes evidence used by the FBI to justify opening an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Moscow was very thin. . .
3. Investigators are focused on what happened before Crossfire Hurricane officially started, including when Christopher Steele first began compiling his dossier. . .
4. Barr views the FBI’s continuation of the Russia probe after the Steele dossier “collapsed” as an illegitimate effort to remove the president.
5. There are multiple criminal investigations into leaks of classified information. . .
6. Barr is concerned by the outgoing Obama administration’s extensive unmasking of Americans’ conversations ... but don’t expect Barack Obama or Joe Biden to get in trouble. . .
7. Durham is examining whether political pressures were applied during the intelligence community's assessment of Russia's intentions in 2016 election meddling. That could be bad news for former CIA chief John Brennan. . .
and from Nice Deb at AmGreat, Indictments Likely Coming Down in Durham Probe and Antifa Financing Probe, Former Fed Says
Jim Trusty, formerly the Chief of the Organized Crime Section at the DOJ, now a partner at Ifrah Law, said Dems are doing “damage control” because U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe, and a DOJ investigation into antifa’s financing are about to result in some “bombshell” indictments.
Sundance catches FBI director Christopher Wray making his excuses to Brett Baier FBI Director Chris Wray Conducts Climate Assessment ‘Sensing Session’ With Brett Baier – Video. What a weasel! The good Russiagate stuff is near the end.

The AP whines Prosecutor: Trump ally Roger Stone was ‘treated differently’ and Andy McCarthy explains the Roger Stone House hearing – here's what's really going on
If Wednesday’s Judiciary Committee hearing were a trial under the rules of evidence, Zelinsky would not be permitted to testify to anything of consequence. Zelinsky’s submitted testimony is chockablock with hearsay – he had no discussions with the AG, Justice Department leadership, or even the U.S. attorney for D.C. Moreover, Barr has reaffirmed that he did not discuss Stone’s sentencing with President Trump or anyone else at the White House. It was a special counsel prosecution, it was appropriate for him to be involved, and he suggested a sentencing approach so patently proper that the judge, through gritted teeth, adopted it.

I continue to believe that what’s going on here is a Democratic scheme to bruise up the AG in anticipation of possible indictments, or a damning report, in the Durham investigation. Today’s session is unlikely to advance that objective much.
Aaron Maté, RCI, Bolton's Memoir Undercuts Hype as Impeachment's Would-Be Star Witness. Carrie Sheffield at JTN, Five major witnesses rebut Bolton book, undercutting claims about Trump presidency. Which sort of explains why Nadler won't call him to testify to the house. Courtney O'Brien at Town Hall recount how Secretary Pompeo Explains Why Bolton Should Be Prosecuted
He wants to see Bolton prosecuted for publishing a book that reportedly contains classified information and threatened U.S. national security. He's seen individuals at a "much lower level" prosecuted for similar behavior.
"This is unprecedented what John Bolton chose to do while a current president is still in office to have his most senior national security staff member write a book containing detailed asserted quotations about what was said to foreign leaders, what was said in very private meetings on sensitive topics presents enormous risk. I’ve also seen instances where there’s information that I am confident was classified, and I am saddened, because this is a horrible precedent. And I hope, I’ll leave it to Attorney General Barr to make the final decision, but as I stare at that, this is the kind of thing that we’ve seen happen. I was a soldier once, Hugh. You know that story. I saw young soldiers who were prosecuted for releasing classified information at a much lower level who were much more junior and who didn’t have 30 years of experience handling classified information. This is something that has real criminal risk associated with it, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out how it’s the case that this can be permitted to stand without a real response. If this becomes the pattern and practice, this is truly damaging to American national security."
Bolton is short on friends these days in Washington. The Democrats are just as peeved with him, accusing him of avoiding testimony during Trump's impeachment trial so he could save some juicy details for his book.

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