Flynn’s lawyers seek dismissal as Trump pushes ‘Obamagate’ conspiracy theory

'General Flynn was treated horribly. General Flynn was treated illegally,' president contended again on Tuesday

John T. Bennett
Washington Bureau Chief
Wednesday 20 May 2020 15:50 BST
Bill Barr on decision to drop Michael Flynn case

Donald Trump is accusing the Obama administration of a potentially criminal conspiracy to take down Michael Flynn, and now his former national security adviser's lawyers want the federal case against him tossed.

Attorneys for the retired Army three-star general on Tuesday asked a Washington, DC, federal appeals court to dismiss all criminal charges against Mr Flynn. He pleaded guilty to lying to federal officials as part of the Justice Department Russia election meddling probe that became the special counsel investigation led by former FBI Director Robert S Mueller III.

Mr Flynn's legal team also wants the case assigned to a new judge.

They contend US District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan should be removed because he denied a Justice Department request for the case to be dismissed. Instead, Mr Sullivan appointed a retired judge to argue against the department's request and examine whether Mr Flynn should be held in criminal contempt for potentially perjuring himself.

Mr Sullivan has booked arguments for 16 July.

The president on Tuesday continued to allege that senior Obama administration officials might have broken the law in looking into Mr Flynn's contacts with a senior Russian diplomat during the transition period between Mr Trump's November 2016 election and swearing in two months later.

"On the Flynn case, General Flynn is a man of great respect," he said. "General Flynn was treated horribly. General Flynn was treated illegally. These people, they broke the law, they broke the law."

Mr Trump and his senior aides, however, have pointed to only one potential crime that anyone in the Obama administration might have committed: the leaking of Mr Flynn's name to journalists, which White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany last week contended violated his Fourth Amendment rights.

"What they have done to General Flynn should never happen [again]. What they have done to the presidency and what they have done to this country can never be allowed to happen again to our country," an agitated Mr Trump said following a lunch meeting with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill, during which he asked for help pushing the "Obamagate" conspiracy theory.

But, as always, Mr Trump appeared mostly concerned with delivering a mini-sales pitch for his own re-election.

"And, despite all of that has been done, everything that has been done, we have had one of the greatest presidencies ever. We have never, I don't think anybody, Mitch, I think we can say it with a surety," he said to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who was masked and standing nearby. "Nobody has accomplished what we have accomplished in a relatively short period of time, a three-year period of time, nobody has been able to do that.

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