Judge Who Cleared Flynn Exposed Having Deep Trump-Loving Ties


This Wednesday, a three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling ordering District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan to comply with the federal government’s request to throw out the case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying about his contacts with a Russian Ambassador to the United States. The appeals court’s decision was written by Neomi Rao, who Trump appointed to fill the seat on the appeals court that was left vacant when Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Rao has previously faced criticism for her fealty to Trumpism, and this week, she faced more steep criticism for punitively clearing the way for Flynn — or trying to, at least. One judge on the three-judge panel dissented, and the next option is for a review of the case by the full court of judges.

As reporter Mark Joseph Stern observed:

‘Neomi Rao does not just say “sorry, this is what the law requires.” She goes ALL IN on the Trump administration’s theory of the case, condemning Judge Sullivan’s “unprecedented intrusions on individual liberty” and chastising him for daring to “prob[e] the government’s motives.”‘

There’s an irony in Rao condemning Sullivan on those grounds for his hesitation to drop the case against Flynn like the Trump appointee-led Justice Department requested. Amidst Congressional investigations into the corruption of the president and his associates, the Trump administration, has, in fact, repeatedly questioned Congressional motives, which has sparked condemnation from Democratic leaders in the House like Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (Mass.). Now, a Trump-appointed judge is trying to use an argument against questioning investigators’ motives for the administration’s own purposes, now that it’s politically convenient.

Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Alene commented:

‘I would expect to see a move to en banc (have all active judges on the DC Circuit hear the case). This ruling sets a precedent that says even in cases of bad faith by DOJ, federal courts have no discretion to refuse a request to dismiss a prosecution.’

None of the facts of Flynn’s case have changed. In fact, transcripts of his original communications with the now former Russian Ambassador to the U.S. confirm that Flynn discussed sanctions with the official, although he claimed otherwise. The Trump-appointed Attorney General Bill Barr sought to throw out the case on the apparent grounds that it was never worthwhile in the first place — but the law is the law.

Check out more reactions to Judge Reo’s decision: