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Democrats ask for investigation of DOJ decision to drop Flynn case

Democrats ask for investigation of DOJ decision to drop Flynn case
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Senate Democrats are requesting a top Justice Department watchdog investigate the decision to drop the federal government's case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.  

Sens. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseCentrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle Lawmakers rally around cyber legislation following string of attacks Graham, Whitehouse: Global transition to renewables would help national security MORE (D-R.I.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) sent a letter to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and Jeffrey Ragsdale, the acting director of the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, asking for them to "immediately open an investigation" into the decision "as well as the Department’s pattern of politicized decision making."

"The Department’s decision thus appears to be based solely on President TrumpDonald TrumpWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Poll: 30 percent of GOP voters believe Trump will 'likely' be reinstated this year Black Secret Service agent told Trump it was offensive to hold rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth: report MORE’s clear desire to shield his political allies from responsibility for their actions and to reject the clear reality that his Administration broke the law in its effort to obstruct legitimate investigations into its conduct. If this decision is not investigated, it poses a clear and present threat to the rule of law," they added.  

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They are asking for the investigation to look into "policies, procedures, and practices related to politically sensitive prosecutions."

"As part of this investigation, we ask that you determine why the Department chose to drop its charges against Flynn, why no career prosecutor joined in that decision, and what role Attorney General Barr and President Trump played," they wrote.

In addition to Whitehouse and Blumenthal, Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerDemocrats introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for government discrimination Zombie Tax punishes farmers to fill DC coffers Rand Paul does not support a national minimum wage increase — and it's important to understand why MORE (D-N.J.), a fellow member of the Judiciary Committee, tweeted that the decision "needs to be investigated by the DOJ's IG." 

The Justice Department announced on Thursday that it was moving to drop its case against Flynn, who had been charged with lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia shortly before President Trump took office.

The DOJ said in a court filing that it no longer believed it could make a case against the former three-star Army general. Flynn had initially entered into an agreement in 2017 to cooperate with DOJ and plead guilty, but he had since withdrawn from the plea agreement and was fighting the charges. 

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Attorney General William BarrBill BarrLieu calls Catholic bishops 'hypocrites' for move to deny Biden communion The Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? Senate Judiciary Democrats demand DOJ turn over Trump obstruction memo MORE further defended the decision during an interview with CBS News, saying it was his "duty" to drop the Flynn case. 

“I'm doing the law’s bidding. I’m doing my duty under the law, as I see it,” Barr told CBS News in an interview Thursday. 

But Blumenthal and Whitehouse, in their letter, counter that "the facts of the Flynn case are clear. Flynn broke the law."

"At times, the link between President Trump’s tweets and Barr’s actions has been so tight that even Barr has urged the president to be more circumspect," they wrote.

Barr is coming under heavy criticism from congressional Democrats over the decision to drop the case against Flynn with several, including Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats have turned solidly against gas tax Overnight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 Democratic senators press PhRMA over COVID-19 lobbying efforts  MORE (D-Mass.) and Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris signals a potential breakthrough in US-Mexico cooperation Watch live: Harris delivers remarks on vaccination efforts Biden signs Juneteenth bill: 'Great nations don't ignore their most painful moments' MORE (D-Calif.), renewing their calls for him to resign. 

It's the latest political firestorm for Barr, who faced a backlash in February over the Justice Department's decision to reduce its recommended sentence for Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneBannon asked Trump DOJ to reimburse his legal fees from Russia probe: report Feds charge members of Three Percenters militia group over Jan. 6 attack Biden's anti-corruption memo is good news — and essential to US national security MORE.

Barr, in the interview with CBS that aired on Thursday, said that his decision was not influenced by Trump and that he did not consult Trump. He told CBS that the White House was made aware of the decision when the Justice Department filed it. 

"They were aware, because of the schedule, that the Department would be saying something in court. And I said that we'd make up our mind what to do and file, you know, sometime before Monday. File our responses to what was going on in court. But other than that, no," he said, asked if he had advised the White House of his decision.