Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut wrote to Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department’s inspector general, and Jeffrey R. Ragsdale, the acting director of the department’s office of professional responsibility, asking that they “immediately open an investigation” into the decision to drop the Flynn case, “as well as the Department’s pattern of politicized decision making.”
“If this decision is not investigated, it poses a clear and present threat to the rule of law,” wrote the Democrats, both lawyers and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Mr. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, pleaded guilty in 2017 to “willfully and knowingly” making false statements to the FBI about conversations he had with a Russian government official, and he been awaiting sentencing when the Justice Department reversed course Thursday and dropped its case.
Mr. Trump had continued to express strong support for Mr. Flynn following the latter’s guilty plea, and the senators want to know if either he or Attorney General William P. Barr played a part in the department’s decision.
“We ask that you immediately open an investigation into Justice Department policies, procedures, and practices related to politically sensitive prosecutions,” the senators wrote. “As part of this investigation, we ask that you determine why the Department chose to drop its charges against Flynn, why no career prosecutor joined in that decision, and what role Attorney General Barr and President Trump played. The American people deserve to know whether the Justice Department has become a tool of political manipulation.”
“On the merits, the government’s argument for dismissing the case appears to be inaccurate, politically biased and inconsistent with the department’s own guidelines,” the congressmen wrote.
The Justice Department’s office of the inspector general did not immediately return a request for comment.
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