Washington, May 7 (efe-epa).- The Department of Justice applied Thursday for the dismissal of the case against Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who served briefly as national security adviser to President Donald Trump, for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia’s envoy to the United States.
Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 amid threats from prosecutors to indict his son on a separate matter.
Last year, however, the one-time director of the Defense Intelligence Agency hired a new team of lawyers who embarked on an effort to get Flynn’s conviction overturned.
“He was an innocent man,” Trump said Thursday in the Oval Office after learning of the DoJ’s decision. “He is a great gentleman. He was targeted by the Obama administration and he was targeted in order to try and take down a president, and what they’ve done is a disgrace, and I hope a big price is going to be paid.”
The charges against Flynn were part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of alleged Russian efforts to aid Trump during the 2016 election and of possible coordination between the Kremlin and the real estate mogul’s presidential campaign.
Mueller said in his report, issued in April 2019, that he found no evidence that Trump or his associates colluded with Russian officials.
But the president remains bitter about what he has always called a “witch hunt” and on Thursday he blasted the FBI officials involved in the Flynn prosecution case as “scum.”
In a letter to the federal district judge presiding over the case, the DoJ said that the FBI interview of Flynn that led to the charges was an attempt to revive “a no longer justifiably predicated investigation.”
FBI officials questioned Flynn in early January 2017 – before Trump’s inauguration – about several telephone conversations he had with Sergey Kislyak, then the Russian ambassador to the US.
“After a considered review of all the facts and circumstances of this case, including newly discovered and disclosed information appended to the defendant’s supplemental pleadings, the Government has concluded that the interview of Mr. Flynn was untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn,” the DoJ said.
Moreover, the DoJ noted, the interview came after an FBI document that recommended closing the investigation of Flynn due to the “absence of any derogatory information.”
“The Government is not persuaded that the January 24, 2017 interview was conducted with a legitimate investigative basis and therefore does not believe Mr. Flynn’s statements were material even if untrue. Moreover, we not believe that the Government can prove either the relevant false statements or their materiality beyond a reasonable doubt,” the DoJ said in its court filing.
The FBI’s case against Flynn was based on discrepancies between his answers in the interview and the transcripts of his conversations with Kislyak. EFE