In a ruling issued on Wednesday, the Washington DC Circuit Court of Appeals effectively ended the case against Flynn, ordering federal judge Emmet Sullivan to heed the Justice Department’s advice and close the case. Sullivan had attempted to keep the case active, even though the Justice Department dropped its charges against Flynn last month.
The appeals battle was a last-ditch showdown between Flynn and the Justice Department on one side, and Sullivan on the other. Though reporters as recently as last week reckoned the appeals court would side with Sullivan, they were proven wrong on Wednesday morning.
Of course, Sullivan may appeal again, but with the government and prosecution in agreement, his chances of breathing life into the Flynn case – ongoing for more than two years – is slim.
Appointed national security advisor following Trump’s election win in 2016, Flynn quickly became the first and most prominent White House official caught up in the FBI’s ‘Russiagate’ investigation. He was fired in early 2017 and later pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
However, the case was dropped last month, after it emerged that the charges against him were baseless.
Before he was interviewed by FBI agents in January 2017, FBI brass knew they had “no derogatory information” on the retired General, yet then-FBI Director James Comey ordered the interview to proceed regardless, breaching agency protocol. Disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok urged his superiors to keep the case against Flynn open, and plotted with other agents to “get him to lie” during the interview. Furthermore, Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page edited the transcript of the interview to incriminate Flynn.
All of this information was revealed last month, when acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell declassified a trove of ‘Russiagate’ documents. According to the document dump, a host of Obama administration officials dug into Flynn’s intelligence records as the FBI were attempting to entrap him in the interview.
President Trump, who has long accused the FBI and Obama administration of orchestrating a plot to take down his presidency, retweeted a call from his son last week for Flynn to “sue the FBI and it’s corrupt actors for all they’re worth.”