On Wednesday, a federal appeals court ordered a lower-court judge to dismiss the criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Trump’s first national security advisor.
A three-judge panel ruled 2-1 that the Department of Justice had the power to drop the charges against Flynn. The one dissenting judge was Judge Robert Wilkins, an Obama appointee.
The Department of Justice ordered that the case be dropped after it was revealed that Obama officials in the FBI had set up a perjury trap for him in order to get him fired as a Trump advisor. Obama officials also withheld exculpatory evidence, and launched and carried out an investigation (which included surveillance of Flynn and other Trump associates) over bogus claims of Russian collusion despite having no empirical evidence of that collusion. Declassified documents also showed that Obama was aware of the bogus investigation and efforts to railroad Michael Flynn.
Despite the DOJ’s request, Washington, D.C., federal district court Judge Emmet Sullivan did not grant the DOJ’s motion to dismiss the case. Sullivan then made the bizarre move of appointing a lawyer to make arguments against the case’s dismissal.
The U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia Circuit, in its ruling, said that the dismissal request in this case was not the kind of “unusual case where a more searching inquiry is justified” before granting a dismissal.
The ruling, written by Trump appointee Neomi Rao, also noted that the executive branch of government has “primacy over charging decisions.”
Because of that, “we grant the petition for mandamus in part and order the district court to grant the government’s Rule 48(a) motion to dismiss the charges against Flynn,” the court said.
Rao ruled it was appropriate to grant a the so-called writ of mandamus requested by Flynn’s lawyers because Sullivan’s steps to slow-walk his decision on whether to dismiss the case would “will result in specific harms to the exercise of the Executive Branch’s exclusive prosecutorial power.”
You can read the entire ruling here.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis