Media Mention

Paul Rosenzweig: Attack on a Fundamental Principle of Justice

May 8, 2020

Note: this piece was originally published in The Atlantic, and was written by Checks & Balances member Paul Rosenzweig. 

The Department of Justice has moved to dismiss the criminal case against Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser to President Donald Trump. At Attorney General Bill Barr’s direction, the Department took the action to, in his words, “restore confidence in the system [and show] there is only one standard of justice.” This Orwellian description conceals the reality that under Barr, there are two separate systems of justice, one for the president’s friends, and one for everyone else.

This is not the first time that Attorney General Barr has interfered in criminal investigations involving close confidants of President Trump. Earlier he intervened to soften a sentencing memorandum for Roger Stone—an act that led to the withdrawal of four career prosecutors from the case and a call from thousands of DOJ alumni for Barr’s resignation. Additionally, he earlier sought to soften the sentence to be imposed on General Flynn. This time, Barr has gone a step further and moved to dismiss the Flynn case outright. Once again, the lead prosecutor has quit the case, and the government’s filing was so unpersuasive that no career prosecutor was willing to sign it. It is signed only by a political appointee—Timothy Shea, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, who was appointed by Barr—acting at the Attorney General’s direction.

Why would Barr do such a thing? After all, Flynn has already pleaded guilty—that is, he has admitted under oath that he lied to the FBI. The government doesn’t usually dismiss cases against people who have acknowledged their wrongdoing. And in exchange for his plea, the Department of Justice also agreed to not press other, more serious, charges against Flynn as well as to not bring charges against his son—a bargain that seems fair to many observers.

Continue reading at The Atlantic.