SPONSORED:

Top Democrat demands 'immediate explanation' from Barr after Flynn case dropped

The top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee demanded answers from Attorney General William BarrBill BarrDOJ shifts, will allow local police to wear body cameras during operations with federal agents Police accountability board concludes that Seattle police officers used excessive force during encounters with protesters Trump hasn't asked Barr to open investigation into Bidens, McEnany says MORE over the Justice Department’s decision to drop criminal charges against President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign slams Facebook after thousands of ads blocked by platform's pre-election blackout Mnuchin says he learned of Pelosi's letter to him about stimulus talks 'in the press' Harris to travel to Texas Friday after polls show tie between Trump, Biden MORE's former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Rep. Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerMarijuana stocks see boost after Harris debate comments Jewish lawmakers targeted by anti-Semitic tweets ahead of election: ADL Democrats shoot down talk of expanding Supreme Court MORE (D-N.Y.) said the “outrageous” move called for an “immediate explanation.” He added that the House Judiciary Committee, which Nadler chairs, would summon Barr to the Capitol as soon as possible, after a March hearing with the attorney general was postponed due to the pandemic and said later in a statement he would ask the Inspector General to investigate.

“Rest assured, we are going to reschedule that hearing, ASAP, and demand answers!” Nadler said on Twitter.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Thursday its intent to drop the criminal case against Flynn, who had previously pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia during the presidential transition. Flynn later withdrew from his plea agreement.

Nadler said the DOJ’s move demonstrated the politicization of the top federal law enforcement agency under Trump. 

“Flynn PLEADED GUILTY to lying to investigators,” Nadler also said on Twitter. “The evidence against him is overwhelming. Now, a politicized DOJ is dropping the case.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The top Democrat followed up with a statement, calling the evidence against Flynn "overwhelming."

"A politicized and thoroughly corrupt Department of Justice is going to let the President’s crony simply walk away," Nadler said. "We are not supposed to get special treatment because we are friends with the President or refused to cooperate with federal investigators on his behalf. 

"The integrity of our criminal justice system is at stake, and the American people deserve answers," he added. "I will also ask the Inspector General for the Department of Justice to investigate this matter." 

Meanwhile, Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffCIA impeachment whistleblower forced to live under surveillance due to threats: report In our 'Bizarro World' of 2020 politics, the left takes a wrong turn Greenwald slams Schiff over Biden emails on Fox MORE (D-Calif.), who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, said the decision reflected “the worst politicization of the Justice Department in its history.”

“Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his illicit Russian contacts. His lies do not now become truths,” Schiff said in a tweet. “This dismissal does not exonerate him. But it does incriminate Bill Barr.”

In a court filing Thursday, the DOJ said newly uncovered FBI documents showed the investigation into Flynn was handled improperly and revealed that agents had misgivings about whether they believed Flynn had lied during his interview.

DOJ lawyers told the court that the FBI had initially moved to close the investigation in 2016 after finding a lack of evidence, but that the case remained open by mistake. 

Flynn would later provide agents a description of a conversation he had with a Russian diplomat in the weeks before Trump's inauguration that prosecutors considered to be false and misleading, leading to Flynn’s guilty plea.

Some legal experts expressed dismay over the department’s change in course.

“It is highly unusual to dismiss a case after a defendant has pleaded guilty in open court,” said Barbara McQuade, a law professor at Michigan University and former federal prosecutor. “There is nothing in the public record to justify this dismissal.” 

-- Updated at 4:59 p.m.

Harper Neidig contributed.