The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan announced in a filing on Tuesday that he will not force the Justice Department to comply with his previous order to release records relating to Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser who was charged as a part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Last week, the Justice Department boldly defied Sullivan’s orders in a filing, saying that it was refusing to release the audio recordings of Flynn’s discussions with Russian officials, which would include his conversations with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn pleaded guilty in late 2017 for lying to the FBI about the content of these conversations during the Trump administration’s transition period.

The department did release a separate recording and transcript of a voicemail Flynn received from one of Trump’s lawyers, which was relevant to the obstruction of justice investigation. But it said the other materials were not relevant to Flynn’s sentencing, which is the matter before Sullivan.

Many observers saw the refusal as a brash defiance of a judge’s explicit order, and some suggested that it may be a part of Attorney General Bill Barr’s attempts to cover up damaging information for the president.

But Sullivan’s response on Tuesday makes those interpretations less likely.

“The government is not required to file any additional materials or information on the public docket pursuant to the Court’s Orders of May 16, 2019,” the judge’s filing said.

“It was surprising for the court to have asked for these transcripts to be publicly filed in the first place, but it’s even more surprising to see the court back down in the face of outright DOJ refusal,” said Lawfare Executive Editor Susan Hennessey in a tweet. “I’d imagine there was lots of back and forth behind the scenes here.”

She added that it’s possible Sullivan agreed to let the government file the materials under seal.

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti said: “I’m surprised by this move, because the information would appear to be relevant to the factors that he is required to consider at sentencing. He appears to be deferring to DOJ’s view of what is relevant.”


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Anti-abortion demonstrators gather outside the US Supreme Court

Washington (AFP) - The US Supreme Court on Friday ended the right to abortion in a seismic ruling that shreds half a century of constitutional protections on one of the most divisive and bitterly fought issues in American political life.

The conservative-dominated court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade decision that enshrined a woman's right to an abortion, saying that individual states can now permit or restrict the procedure themselves.

Keep reading... Show less

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen

Sixteen states vying for the early slots in 2024’s presidential primary calendar pitched their case to the Democratic National Committee on Wednesday and Thursday, touting their history, diversity, economies, and electoral competitiveness in the general election.

State party officials, a governor, lt. governors, an attorney general, members of Congress, senior staff and party strategists touted their electorates, industries, heritage, and features that would propel presidential candidates and draw national scrutiny, which pleased the officials on the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC). But the panel’s leaders also probed whether Republicans in otherwise promising states would seek to impede a revised Democratic primary calendar.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}