Former acting solicitor general hits DOJ leaders as 'thugs' after Flynn case dropped

Neal Katyal, a vocal Trump critic and former acting solicitor general, slammed the Justice Department as being led by “thugs” after the agency dropped its case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Katyal said on MSNBC on Friday that the Department of Justice (DOJ) had been politicized by President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test MORE and was seeking to protect his allies.

"The Justice Department sounds like basically a bunch of defense attorneys, and that’s of course not the role of the department, particularly not in a circumstance in which the person has pled guilty, as [Flynn] has twice," Katyal said.

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"I have been talking to person after person last night and today who are there, and they’re beside themselves because, you know, we’ve seen a lot of threats to the rule of law over the last three years, but this kind of encapsulates it all," he continued. "It’s the purest form of, basically, if you’re the president’s pal, there’s one kind of justice for you, and if you’re someone else ... there’s something different that you face."

The broadside comes after the Justice Department announced this week it would drop its case against Flynn on charges he lied to the FBI about his contacts with Russians.

Flynn had entered into a plea deal with the DOJ, admitting he urged Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak not to respond by escalating the Obama administration’s December 2016 sanctions on Moscow for interfering in the U.S. presidential election. He also confessed that he lied to investigators about the conversation. However, he later reversed course and began fighting the charges.

A Justice Department attorney resigned after the DOJ’s announcement that it would drop its charges, which Katyal said Attorney General William BarrBill BarrTrump: Yates either lying or grossly incompetent Trump administration awarding M in housing grants to human trafficking survivors Trump stokes conspiracy about Epstein death, stands by wishes for Ghislaine Maxwell MORE would use to hire a “lackey.”

“These are frankly thugs who are running the Justice Department right now, and it is a real threat to the rule of law, and Barr’s counting on the fact that his thuggery is going to work,” Katyal said.