On Wednesday afternoon, President Donald Trump announced that he has pardoned General Michael Flynn. The pardon ends the drawn-out battle between the Department of Justice and District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan who refused to dismiss the charges against General Flynn after new evidence was discovered that led to the Department's recommendation to drop the charges.
Long overdue justice for Gen. Flynn after a politicized prosecution and judge's unwillingness to dismiss the case after being ordered to do so by the D.C. Circuit. https://t.co/uY75CGHNgw— RNLA ⚖️ (@TheRepLawyer) November 25, 2020
Professor Jonathan Turley wrote earlier on Wednesday about Judge Sullivan's bizarre handling of the Flynn case:
From the outset, Sullivan’s handling of the case was unsettling and irregular. This should have been a simple sentencing on a simple criminal count. After all, Flynn cooperated with federal prosecutors and even uncooperative witnesses like Alex Van Der Zwaan received only 30 days in prison on a similar charge. However, in his first sentencing hearing, Sullivan blew up the proceedings with a bizarre diatribe. Using the flag in court as a prop, Sullivan falsely accused Flynn of being an “unregistered agent of a foreign country while serving as the national security adviser” who sold his country out. Sullivan even suggested Flynn should have been charged with treason, then suggested he might ignore any recommendations and send Flynn to jail when he declared, “I cannot assure you that if you proceed today, you will not receive a sentence of incarceration. I am not hiding my disgust and my disdain.”
Sullivan apologized for some of his comments, but Flynn wisely waited on sentencing. There would be two more sentencing hearings. Each time, Sullivan lashed out at the Trump Administration and refused to issue a final order. The Justice Department later filed to drop the prosecution entirely. Yet, Sullivan again refused and took the extraordinary step of inviting former judge John Gleeson to argue against dismissal of the case. As a judge, Gleeson was himself reversed for usurping the role of prosecutors–acting (according to the Second Circuit) in a way that “would be to turn the presumption of regularity on its head.” Sullivan even suggested that he might charge Flynn himself with perjury.
Professor Turley continued:
Sullivan’s conduct led a D.C. panel to order him to dismiss the case, in a scathing decision over his handling and the briefing of Gleeson. At the time, I wrote that the panel should be reversed because Sullivan had not issued a final decision. Later the D.C. Circuit reached the same conclusion and, without endorsing the conduct of Sullivan, sent the case back for final decision for Sullivan to do the right thing.
Instead, in September, Sullivan refused again to issue a final ruling and stated that he “still has questions” about the case. Indeed, in the hearing, Sullivan asked about whether a Biden Justice Department might be able to reinstate the case. It left the troubling appearance that Sullivan was prosecutor shopping, delaying the case until after an expected Biden electoral victory.
Some prominent Republicans took to Twitter to support the President's pardon:
I hope General Flynn can now move forward with his life.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) November 25, 2020
Well done President Trump!
This pardon is well deserved, principled, and one of President Trump’s best decisions.— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) November 25, 2020
Every American, including @RepJerryNadler, should be enraged by what James Comey’s FBI did to General Flynn.
What happened to @GenFlynn was a national disgrace. No American should ever be targeted for simply belonging to a certain political party.— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) November 25, 2020
President @realDonaldTrump is right to pardon the respected three-star general.
The left and Comey’s FBI destroyed General Flynn’s life to try to take down @realDonaldTrump.— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) November 25, 2020
What happened to him never should have been allowed to happen in America.
Justice has been served.
It’s long overdue to hold the people behind it accountable.
The President has yet to release the full details of the pardon.