Today the Justice Department moved to drop its criminal charges against Michael Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
- Why it matters: The case had become part of a broader campaign by President Trump and his allies to discredit the Russia investigation, writes Axios' Zach Basu.
- Last week, Trump said he would consider bringing Flynn back into the administration, calling him "essentially exonerated" after the revelation of new FBI documents that were released as part of Flynn's effort to withdraw his guilty plea.
In a filing today, the DOJ said the interview in which Flynn lied to the FBI "was untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn" and "conducted without any legitimate investigative basis."
- In February, Attorney General Bill Barr appointed an outside prosecutor, U.S. attorney Jeff Jensen, to review the government's prosecution of Flynn for evidence of prosecutorial misconduct.
- Jensen said in a statement: "Through the course of my review of General Flynn’s case, I concluded the proper and just course was to dismiss the case. I briefed Attorney General Barr on my findings, advised him on these conclusions, and he agreed."
Between the lines: The motion to dismiss is signed by U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Timothy Shea, described by Fox News as Barr's "right-hand man" at the Justice Department.
Trump told reporters in the Oval Office: "He was an innocent man. ... Now in my book, he’s an even greater warrior. ... I hope a lot of people are going to pay a big price. They’re scum."
- House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) tweeted: "This is outrageous! ... The decision to overrule the special counsel is without precedent and warrants an immediate explanation."
Also today: Supreme Court tosses out "Bridgegate" convictions.