The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to an en banc review of the case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn. That means that following an earlier ruling on the matter by a three-judge panel of the court, every judge on the court will now participate in a further review. While that further process is underway, the court has put the three-judge panel’s previous ruling on hold that was in favor of Flynn, who was trying to get the case against him thrown out. The Justice Department had requested for the case to be dropped, but none of the facts of Flynn’s guilt had changed, and Judge Emmet Sullivan has so far resisted abandoning the case.
As reporter Darren Samuelsohn explained, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals “has stayed its decision ordering Judge Emmet Sullivan to end former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn’s criminal case while the entire en banc panel of appellate judges considers the issues.” NBC News legal analyst Glenn Kirschner called the step “good news,” adding:
‘The entire DC Circuit Court of Appeals (all judges) will reconsider the split (2-1) opinion of the 3-judge panel that directed Judge Sullivan to dismiss Flynn’s case. I strongly suspect the full court will get it right, allowing the case to continue.’
This is good news. The entire DC Circuit Court of Appeals (all judges) will reconsider the split (2-1) opinion of the 3-judge panel that directed Judge Sullivan to dismiss Flynn’s case. I strongly suspect the full court will get it right, allowing the case to continue. https://t.co/dya3KIQqpB
— Glenn Kirschner (@glennkirschner2) July 10, 2020
The previous ruling from the three-judge panel had been written by Neomi Rao, a Trump appointee who replaced Judge Brett Kavanaugh after Trump nominated him for the U.S. Supreme Court. Rao is a highly controversial appointee; in the description of NBC News, Democrats have viewed Rao’s background as “a career of advocating an expansive view of presidential power and working on the widespread rollback of regulations.” Trump, of course, seems keen on surrounding himself with as many people who hold an “expansive view of presidential power” as possible. Just this week, the U.S. Supreme Court revealed rulings in two high-profile cases in which Trump had been arguing that he should be exempt from subpoenas for his tax returns.
In the Flynn case, the Justice Department team of Attorney General Bill Barr had decided to request to drop the government’s case against the Trump ally over hyped-up concerns about whether it was ever warranted in the first place. But the problem is, none of the facts have changed — Flynn admitted to lying to federal investigators about his communications with a Russian Ambassador to the United States.