In a surprising twist on Wednesday, a DC appeals court has ruled that the case against Michael Flynn be dropped. Flynn, the former national security advisor to President Trump, pled guilty to lying to the FBI. However, his defense since produced a hand-written note from the FBI that they claim proves Flynn was entrapped.
The note suggested that the FBI could charge Flynn with a crime for speaking to the Russian ambassador before Donald Trump was sworn in. Alternatively, it allegedly reads, the FBI could “get [Flynn] to lie” or hand his case off. Mr. Flynn seized on this moment to retract his earlier guilty plea and ask for the case to be dismissed.
Politically Charged Case
This case is very politically charged due to the origins of the investigation. President Donald Trump and his allies have been adamant that the FBI has been unfairly targeting them over the 2016 election. During that election, investigations have uncovered, the Trump campaign had close ties to Russian hacking organizations.
These ties led to the selective leaking of classified materials. The notable leak of Hillary Clinton’s emails has long been attributed as one of the reasons Clinton lost the general election. This hacking attack has been linked to Russian nationals that were in contact with the Trump campaign.
Appeals Court Covers Flynn
The DC appeals court has order Judge Emmett Sullivan to drop the case against Mr. Flynn. Notably, the majority opinion in the appeal was written by Neomi Rao, a Trump appointee. In the opinion, Rao writes that Judge Sullivan “fails to justify the district court’s unprecedented intrusions on individual liberty and the Executive’s charging authority”.
However, this doesn’t mean that Flynn is off the hook yet. The prosecution in his case will almost assuredly be appealing the ruling of the DC court. The case, which deals with judicial authority, is certain to be of interest to other courts. The politically-charged nature of the case will also make it a huge draw.
Echoes of Mueller Report
The prominence of the case shows that the echoes of the Mueller Report are still being felt in DC. Several top Trump allies, including Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, were indicted as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s exhaustive investigation into Trump’s campaign. Michael Flynn was one of the 34 people indicted by Mueller’s investigation.
Should Flynn’s case go to the Supreme Court, it would be another test of the integrity of the high court. After last week’s resounding embrace of socially progressive rulings in high-profile cases, Mr. Trump would likely prefer not to see Flynn’s case before the current court.