This is highly unusual

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Former U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn departs U.S. District Court, where he was expected to plead guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the United States, in Washington, U.S., December 1, 2017. Photo credit: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters.

So Long-Suffering Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan didn’t just simply approve the Department of Justice’s motion to drop the charges against Michael Flynn. Remember: Flynn, the president’s former national security adviser, already pleaded guilty to making false statements to federal investigators and repeatedly affirmed his guilt to the court.

Before he makes a decision, Judge Sullivan appointed a retired federal judge to make the argument that the charges should not be dismissed since both the Flynn and the government, formally on opposite sides of this case, are now in agreement. Sullivan also asked the judge to look into whether Flynn should face contempt of court charges for perjuring himself, based on what Flynn now says were false statements about his own guilt. So what has Sullivan done and what are Sullivan’s options? And what are the standards for those options?

At the same time this is all going on, President Trump has been trying to rid the executive branch of pesky inspectors general, who are supposed to investigate claims of misconduct. Attorney General Bill Barr has been talking a little bit about Obamagate, Republicans are moving closer to subpoenas for Obama administration officials related to the Russian investigation, and the Fourth Circuit en banc voted to allow discovery to proceed in one of the emoluments case brought by Maryland and the District of Columbia against the President.



Sara Fay