by Paul Sacca
The U.S. Justice Department is dropping its criminal case against Michael Flynn, according to the Associated Press. This comes a week after the public release of documents that were unsealed in the case, which raised questions as to the motivation of the investigation into President Donald Trump's first national security adviser.
The DOJ concluded that Flynn's interview by the FBI was "untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI's counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn" and that the interview on Jan. 24, 2017, was "conducted without any legitimate investigative basis."
The 2017 interview days after Trump's inauguration led to Flynn pleading guilty of lying to the FBI about contact with the then-Russian ambassador before Trump took office. The retired Army lieutenant general pleaded guilty to one count of lying to federal agents in December 2017.
In court documents filed Thursday, the Justice Department said it was dropping the case "after a considered review of all the facts and circumstances of this case, including newly discovered and disclosed information."
"Through the course of my review of General Flynn's case, I concluded the proper and just course was to dismiss the case," U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen, who was reviewing the Flynn case, said in a statement. "I briefed Attorney General [William] Barr on my findings, advised him on these conclusions, and he agreed."
Flynn had been attempting to withdraw his guilty plea since January, arguing that he is a victim of misconduct by prosecutors.
Unsealed documents showed that the FBI had closed its criminal counterintelligence investigation into Flynn, but top bureau official Peter Strzok ordered it to be reopened. The FBI was going to close the case against Flynn because there was an "absence of any derogatory information."
The investigation into Flynn, codenamed "Crossfire Razor," was set to conclude Jan. 4, 2017, but Strzok had it reopened.
"Hey, if you haven't closed RAZOR, don't do so yet," Strzok wrote in a text message to the investigating agent on Jan. 4, 2017. "Pls keep it open for now."