President Trump won a much-needed victory with a legal ruling Wednesday in the Mike Flynn case, one that resonates far beyond the fate of his former national security adviser.
When a federal appeals panel sided with Bill Barr’s Justice Department in saying that Flynn’s charges should be dropped, it fueled the president’s narrative that Obama-era officials had unfairly attacked the retired general and that the FBI is out of control.
In fact, Trump wasted little time before tweeting: “Will James Comey and his gang of dirty cops apologize to General Michael Flynn (and many others) for what they have done to ruin his life? What about Robert Mueller and his angry Democratic Cronies? Are you going to say, SORRY? And what about Obama and Biden?
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The ruling was a rare bright spot after a difficult couple of weeks for Trump. He endured a week of negative publicity during his demonstration in Tulsa, which culminated in low participation. It has been embroiled in a controversy over the tests as the coronavirus has just reached its third highest day in terms of new cases. John Bolton hits him on all waves after another Justice Department lawsuit failed to block publication of his book.
And on Wednesday, a New York Times poll found Joe Biden leading Trump, 50 to 36 percent. This follows a Fox News poll, denounced by the president as false, that gave Biden a 12-point lead.
No wonder the president is pleased that a judicial panel, by a 2-1 vote, scolded trial judge Emmet Sullivan for rejecting the administration’s request to drop the Flynn case. Barr was greatly angered to dismiss the case, given that Flynn had twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his post-election talks with a Russian ambassador.
The decision was written by a Trump designee, Neomi Rao, who had worked at his White House, and was joined by a Bush judge, with a dissident Obama judge.
In unusually strong terms, she wrote that the case is “about whether, after the government has explained why a prosecution is no longer in the public interest, the district judge can prolong the prosecution by naming an amicus, encouraging public participation. and prove the government’s motives … Both the Constitution and the cases are clear: it may not. “
Sullivan could ask that the case be dismissed to the full appeals court, but if not, this ends with Flynn’s legal saga. He was fired from his White House position after just three weeks on the job.
Even when the attorney general won a legal victory, he was assaulted in a House hearing for his department’s intervention in the Roger Stone case. DOJ was furious by asking for a lighter sentence than prosecutors had recommended. (Stone ended a 40-month term and is due to appear in prison next week, unless he is pardoned.)
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Aaron Zelinsky, who was detailed in Mueller’s investigation, testified that prosecutors received “strong pressure from the highest levels of the Justice Department,” urging Stone to give him “a break.”
Zelinsky said that the acting US prosecutor. USA In DC he complied “because he was afraid of the President of the United States,” that career prosecutors were told that “we could be fired if we disagreed,” and all of this was due to “Stone’s relationship with the President.”
I think the original recommendation for a sentence of up to nine years was absurdly harsh, but Barr’s intervention was not looking good, and now it is seen even less. Although he appears to have won in the Flynn case, it is extraordinary for an attorney general to press for clemency, at the end of the game, for two of the president’s political associates.
But sometimes Trump’s critics go too far. Twitter has been sticking warning labels on some presidential tweets, drawing criticism that Jack Dorsey’s company is targeting him for partisan reasons.
The last warning clearly goes too far. After the thugs attempted to tear down a statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park in front of the White House, Trump tweeted: “There will never be an ‘Autonomous Zone’ in Washington, DC, as long as it is its President. If they try, they will meet serious force!
Twitter said this violated its rules against “abusive behavior, specifically, the presence of a threat of harm against an identifiable group.”
This is ridiculous. A president has the right to threaten police action against people who are clearly violating the law. That’s not in the same category as random yahoos or even organized groups that threaten violence that would itself violate the law.
Sometimes critics of Trump go so far that they end up helping him.