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US Justice Department drops case against Donald Trump’s ex-adviser Michael Flynn

President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn (file photo)
The US Justice Department has dropped its criminal case against President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn after mounting pressure from Trump and his political allies on the right.

The department abruptly asked a judge Thursday to drop the charges against Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general who served as an adviser to Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign.

Flynn had previously sought to withdraw his 2017 guilty plea in which he confessed to lying to the FBI about interactions with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the US, before Trump took office.

“The government is not persuaded that the Jan. 24, 2017, interview was conducted with a legitimate investigative basis and therefore does not believe Mr. Flynn’s statements were material even if untrue,” the United States attorney in Washington, Timothy L. Shea, said in a motion to dismiss the charges.

“The government has concluded that the interview of Mr. Flynn was untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn - a no longer justifiably predicated investigation,” L. Shea added.

Trump, who has recently asserted that he would consider hiring back Flynn, said Thursday he was “very happy” for Flynn after the Justice Department’s move.
“Yes, he was a great warrior, and he still is a great warrior. Now in my book he’s an even greater warrior,” Trump said.

“He was an innocent man. He is a great gentleman,” Trump told reporters Thursday at the White House. “Now in my book he’s an even greater warrior.”

The president's allies also celebrated what they viewed as a rebuke to the special counsel's investigative overreach.

"Flynn case dropped! Justice for the General," Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said on Twitter. "Now it’s time to hold someone accountable."

Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements in a charge brought by then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Meanwhile, internal FBI documents turned over by the Justice Department late last month showed FBI officials debated whether and when to warn Flynn that he could face criminal charges as they prepared for a January 2017 interview with him in the Russia probe.

Flynn left his White House position after just 24 days in office when he was found to have misled Vice President Mike Pence about his discussions with Kislyak. Trump announced in 2017 that he fired Flynn because he had lied to Pence and the FBI.

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