The New York Times reports:
The federal judge overseeing the criminal case of President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn appointed an outsider on Wednesday to argue against the Justice Department in its effort to drop the case and investigate whether Mr. Flynn committed perjury, an extraordinary move in a case with acute political overtones.
Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia said in a brief order that he had appointed John Gleeson, a retired judge, “to present arguments in opposition to” the department’s request to withdraw the charge against Mr. Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to investigators as part of a larger inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
Judge Sullivan also asked Judge Gleeson to address whether the court should explore the possibility that Mr. Flynn opened himself up to perjury charges by pleading guilty under oath to a felony charge of making false statements to federal authorities. Mr. Flynn entered guilty pleas twice in front of two judges but later sought to withdraw his plea.
As you can see, the Times’ Katie Benner calls the move “extraordinary.” Elsewhere in her report she calls it “astonishing.” It is both, and arguably outrageous, but maybe not surprising.
How did Sullivan come to select Judge Gleeson? Gleeson co-wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post attacking the DOJ’s motion to dismiss.
Consider that piece an audition for the job Sullivan has now given Gleeson. The title of the op-ed, “The Flynn case isn’t over until the judge says it’s over,” appealing as it must have been to Judge Sullivan, probably ensured the audition would be successful.
Who is John Gleeson? He’s a lefty judge appointed by President Clinton. Gleeson was a critic of mandatory minimum sentencing before it became fashionable for a certain kind of conservative to take that stance. According to Wikipedia, Gleeson “[went] so far as to request federal prosecutors [to] vacate convictions he had been forced to impose” by law.
Judge Gleeson’s ruling against the FBI in a landmark racial profiling case was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, a 2009 case. Now, Gleeson will become a friend of the Obama FBI’s corrupt leadership, as he urges Sullivan to stick it to General Flynn in furtherance of the Bureau’s plan to bring Flynn down.
Before becoming a judge, Gleeson was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. In that capacity, he worked closely with Andrew Weissman, perhaps the most hardcore Trump hater on Robert Mueller’s defunct team of Trump haters.
Sullivan plainly has it in for Michael Flynn. In addition, I gather, he wants to show William Barr who’s the boss.
I believe the Constitution makes Barr the boss when it comes to deciding whom the United States will prosecute and for how long. The imperial Judge Sullivan can’t seem to accept this reality.
It may fall to a higher court to drive the reality home. Or it may fall to President Trump to undo Sullivan’s hard, desperate work.