The DOJ’s Pardon Powers and General Flynn

“The Government has engaged in highly irregular conduct to benefit a political ally of the President,” Gleeson wrote in an 82-page brief to U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.  Judge Gleeson was assigned by Judge Sullivan to act as a friend to the court, and provide reasons why General Flynn should be sentenced.

General Flynn pleaded guilty to perjury.  Lying to the FBI isn’t a big crime.  George Papadopoulos plead guilty to lying to the FBI and got two weeks in jail,  and did a total of 12 days behind bars.

So why is this case so important?   Only the President can give a criminal a pardon.  The DOJ has no pardon powers.  They can’t roll back time, and try to “unprosecute” someone that they have already prosecuted.

The Department of Justice can accuse people of crimes, and prosecute them. They prosecute plenty of people to “the full extent of the law” every single day.

There is no way to claim General Flynn had an unfair trial, because he never went to court.  He can’t say he was conned or trapped because he had the best lawyers money can buy.   He plead guilty to all charges.  If you can’t fight the charges, the best one can do, is try to get a shorter sentence.  So Flynn cut a deal with the Mueller investigation in an attempt to reduce his sentence.   But he broke his deal.   If he did what he promised to do, he likely would not serve any time, just put on probation.  He might have been facing 6 months maximum.   And after that, Trump likely would pardon him, so he’d have a clean record.  But before his sentencing hearing, the DOJ gave him a “get out of jail free card”  which was really just as good as a pardon.  DOJ issued a motion for “leave of court”

Judge Sullivan believes he has the right to hold a hearing on the DOJ’s motion to dismiss all charges against Flynn.  It is a really unique situation, but if the DOJ wins, they have created a new “pardon” authority  which goes into effect immediately and there is no court review.

Trump’s pardon authority is a powerful tool.  A corrupt president can use to pardon criminals because they are the president’s friends or could do great harm with their knowledge of his activities. Trump  is within his authority to issue pardons to those who help him get elected:   Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn,  George Papadopoulos and  Rick Gates.  He can also pardon Rudy Giuliani’s business associates:  Igor Furman (Ukraine scandal, campaign finance) and Lev Parnas (Ukraine scandal, campaign finance).  He’s already commuted the sentence of Roger Stone.   In fact, I would be surprised if he doesn’t issue a long list of pardon once he loses the election.

Nobody know how the Appellate Court will rule.   It could be months until  the 10 judges to rule on the case.   Some did not seem to like idea of a judge being required to take orders from the Department of Justice,.  As reported, “‘The judge has to do some thinking about it, right? The judge is not simply a rubber stamp,’ one of the judges asked Powell.”  Sidney Powell is Flynn’s lawyer.   See link below.

So, this is push back from Judge Sullivan that  AG Barr didn’t expect to his  heavy handed meddling in the Flynn trial.    Sullivan just wasn’t going be Barr’s rubber stamp.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/11/michael-flynn-case-appeals-court-hears-arguments-over-trump-aide.html

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Flynn