Flynn case hearing, deadlines nixed after court ordered to allow dismissal
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan on Thursday ordered the cancellation of a hearing he had scheduled in Michael Flynn‘s case, following a ruling from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals saying Sullivan has to dismiss the case.
The Department of Justice had filed a motion to dismiss Flynn’s case despite his guilty plea after unsealed FBI notes cast doubt on the bureau’s intentions when they interviewed Flynn in January 2017. Sullivan refused to grant the motion right away. Instead, he called for briefs and a hearing to debate the matter, even appointing retired Judge John Gleeson to argue against the dismissal.
Flynn then petitioned the D.C. Circuit for a writ of mandamus — which would order Sullivan to drop the case — which the court granted in a 2-1 decision.
Sullivan’s decision to cancel a hearing, which had been scheduled for July 16, along with other related deadlines, does not necessarily mean that he is ready to dismiss the case against Flynn, who was accused of providing false statements to the FBI related to his contact with a Russian ambassador. Sullivan could opt to challenge the ruling by seeking a review from the full D.C. Circuit Court roster.
After initially pleading guilty, Flynn changed course and accused the FBI of acting improperly when they interviewed him in the early days of the Trump administration. The circumstances surrounding the FBI’s interview of the then-national security adviser were further called into question when handwritten FBI notes indicated that there was debate over whether investigators wanted to get the truth from him or get him to lie so he could be pressured by the possibility of prosecution or termination.
Flynn was ultimately both charged and fired.
This week, new notes, purportedly handwritten by former FBI official Peter Strzok, were turned over to Flynn’s attorneys during a Justice Department review of the case. Flynn’s lawyers then filed the notes as part of his criminal case. The notes raised further questions about who was involved in the Flynn investigation, as Flynn attorney Sidney Powell claimed in a court filing that they showed that then-President Barack Obama called for “the right people” to investigate Flynn, while then-FBI Director James Comey appeared to have said that Flynn’s calls with the ambassador “appear legit.”
Powell said the notes also seemed to indicate that it was then-Vice President Joe Biden who suggested that the Logan Act — a constitutionally questionable law from 1789 that has never been successfully used in prosecution — be used as the reason for the questioning.
It is not clear if the notes were intended to say what Flynn’s lawyers interpreted in their filing.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.