The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday said it is dropping the criminal case against President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, abandoning a prosecution that became a rallying cry for the president and his supporters in attacking the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation.
The move is a stunning reversal for one of the signature cases brought by special counsel Robert Mueller. It comes even though prosecutors for the past three years have maintained that Flynn lied to the FBI in a January 2017 interview about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.
Flynn himself admitted as much, pleading guilty before asking to withdraw the plea, and becoming a key witness for Mueller as the special counsel investigated ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.
In court documents filed Thursday, the DOJ said it is dropping the case “after a considered review of all the facts and circumstances of this case, including newly discovered and disclosed information.”
In the filing, the DOJ said it had concluded that Flynn’s interview by the FBI was “untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn” and that the interview was “conducted without any legitimate investigative basis”.