Attorney General William Barr on Thursday defended the Justice Department’s decision to drop the Michael Flynn case, claiming this “sends the message that there is one standard of justice in this country.”
In December 2017, Flynn, President Trump’s first national security adviser, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Earlier this year, Flynn’s new attorneys asked to have his guilty plea withdrawn, claiming he was pressured into it by the FBI. On Thursday, federal prosecutors filed a motion saying they had determined the FBI’s interview of Flynn was “untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation.”
During an interview with CBS News’ Catherine Herridge, Barr said the Justice Department had been investigating Flynn’s accusation of misconduct by the government, and after finding additional material, he agreed the case should be dismissed. It was “an easy decision” to file the motion, he said, and claimed he was not influenced by Trump’s numerous tweets about Flynn and never discussed the matter with him.
Herridge asked about Flynn admitting in court that his “false statements and omissions impeded and otherwise had a material impact” on the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. On the question of materiality, Barr responded, “we feel really that a crime cannot be established here because because there was not, in our view, a legitimate investigation going on.” There was “nothing wrong” with Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak, he said, calling one conversation “laudable.”
Barr served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993 during the George H.W. Bush administration, and he told Herridge he felt he needed to step back into the role because the country was feeling as if “there were two standards of justice in this country.” The Flynn case, he continued, “sends the message that there is one standard of justice in this country. And that’s the way it will be. It doesn’t matter what political party you’re in, or, you know, whether you’re rich or poor. We will follow the same standard for everybody.” Catherine Garcia