US AG criticized for move to drop case against ex-NSA

Washington, May 12 (IANS) Former officials of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) have criticized Attorney General William Barr for moving to drop charges against President Donald Trump's former National Security Adviser (NSA), Michael Flynn.

Barr “once again assaulted the rule of law”, the officials said in a statement on Monday, accusing him of using the DOJ as a tool to promote Trump's “personal and political interests”, reports Xinhua news agency.

The statement was signed by nearly 2,000 former DOJ officials.

The “DOJ Alumni”, who posted it, said that the signatories “have been vetted to the best of our ability”.

In a court filing last week, the DOJ said it was abandoning the prosecution of Flynn “after a considered review of all the facts and circumstances of this case, including newly discovered and disclosed information”.

This came two years after Flynn pleaded guilty to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for lying about his contacts with Russia during Trump's presidential transition period.

The criminal charges led to Flynn's ouster by Trump in February 2017 and became part of the investigation led by former special counsel Robert Muller into Moscow's alleged meddling to help Trump win the presidency in 2016.

Barr has defended the decision to drop the charges against Flynn, saying he was “not at all” influenced by Trump, who has called the former NSA “an even greater warrior”.

Flynn, also a senior advisor to Trump's presidential campaign team and a retired Lieutenant General, admitted in December 2017 that he lied to the FBI about his discussions, including of US sanctions against Russia, with then Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Russia has repeatedly denied meddling in the US elections.



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