Clearing Flynn Should Also Help Clear the Air in the Election
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
America’s motion to dismiss the criminal charges it had handed up against General Michael Flynn strikes us as more than a vindication of President Trump’s former national security adviser. It’s also an important step toward a long-overdue acceptance of the results of the 2016 election. We’d like to think it will help clear the air as Americans prepare to go to the polls again five months hence.
The move to drop the charges that General Flynn had lied to the FBI were not exactly a surprise. It had become increasingly clear that no charges would have been handed up save for the maneuvering by a cabal within the Justice Department that had been horrified at the election results. This had been thrown into sharp relief by evidence shockingly withheld from the defense (and public).
That this was brought into the open is largely due to the courage and tenacity of Attorney General Barr. He had assigned a review of, among other matters, the Flynn case. The results on General Flynn are sketched in a motion to dismiss, signed by the interim United States attorney for the Columbia District, Timothy Shea. It paints a devastating portrait of the general trapped into pleading guilty to a crime of which he shouldn’t have been charged.
How the court will handle the motion is not, at least to us, entirely clear. It looks to us, though, like there is no longer an actual case or controversy between America and General Flynn. Under the Constitution, our courts’ power extends only to deciding actual cases and controversies. So the court may well grant the government’s motion. It can’t come soon enough, with the election bearing down.
That would leave the question as to why the Deep State so feared a Trump presidency in the first place. Our occasional contributor, Michael Ledeen, who co-authored with General Flynn a book about the global war against radical Islamist terrorism, tells us that the general was planning to bring in new staff to the NSC and to produce “the first accurate budget of clandestine spending” going back to the dawn of the Cold War.
That, Mr. Ledeen tells us, had never been done by either of the Democratic or Republican establishments that Mr. Trump upended in the 2016 election. It strikes us as a logical project for a president who ran against endless wars. Mr. Trump himself reacted bluntly to the vindication of General Flynn, saying that the general was “targeted by the Obama administration” and that “he was targeted to take down a president.”
It’s hard to think of a moment quite like it. Today’s events will no doubt trigger a frantic backlash in the Democratic press. It will be hard, though, for the left to gainsay the bona fides of the prosecutor, Jeffrey Jensen, whom Attorney General Barr had put on the case and who recommended dropping the charges. Mr. Jensen first became a federal prosecutor in Missouri under President Clinton.
It is a coincidence, no doubt, that all this came to a head on the same day that the United States Supreme Court threw out the criminal convictions in the so-called Bridgegate scandal in New Jersey. The Wall Street Journal calls it a “blow against criminalizing politics.” It’s encouraging that the Nine acted unanimously — a timely warning to those who want to keep using criminal law to hamstring the President for political and ideological reasons.