Judge Sullivan stands down

Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered the government to produce transcripts of recordings in the case against Michael Flynn, over which he is presiding. Before getting to the government’s excused defiance of this order, I want to reiterate a point that has consumed my interest because of its revelatory qualities.

It is thanks to Judge Sullivan that we have the unedited transcript of Trump attorney John Dowd’s voicemail message to Flynn lawyer Rob Kelner, in which (if you take the Mueller Report at face value) Dowd obstructed the Mueller investigation. Trump escaped a criminal charge for the phone call, according to the report (page 300), only because attorney-client privilege precluded disclosure of Trump’s potential knowledge of and responsibility for it.

But attorney-client privilege does not extend to conversations in furtherance of a future crime and attorneys have no immunity from prosecution for the commission of a crime on behalf of a client. Why didn’t Mueller’s minions charge Dowd? Not to put to fine a point on it, Dowd remains at large because he didn’t do anything wrong. Mueller, his minions, and his report are full of it. See “Dowd dings Mueller” and the earlier posts linked in it.

On Friday prosecutors declined to produce the transcripts ordered up by Judge Sullivan. What would Judge Sullivan do about it? Unfortunately for those of us seeking to understand the Flynn case, Judge Sullivan walked back his order. Prosecutors succeeded in pulling off the Bartleby approach to Judge Sullivan’s order. For the moment, anyway, we are left cursing the dark, hoping for illumination to be cast by Attorney General Barr and United States Attorney John Durham.

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