Friday, July 21, 2023

the last book I ever read (The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021, excerpt seventeen)

from The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021 by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser:

But nothing was going to stop Trump. Just a month after the flareup over Stone, the president publicly intervened in the prosecution of Mike Flynn, the national security adviser who had pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators. Once again, Barr stepped in—not, he insisted, because Trump wanted him to but because he happened to agree that the prosecution was bogus. The attorney general took the extraordinary action of asking a court to drop the case even though Flynn had pleaded guilty not once but twice. Barr did not argue that Flynn was innocent of lying to the FBI, only that the FBI should never have asked him the questions about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador that led him to lie in the first place. The questions, Barr maintained, were “unjustified” by the bureau’s counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference and Flynn’s lies were not “materially” relevant to the inquiry. Dropping a case where the defendant has already pleaded guilty without new evidence was all but unheard of, especially in such a politically sensitive situation—so much so that a judge refused to rubber-stamp the decision and ordered Barr to explain it, leading to a long set of hearings and appeals.

As with Roger Stone, the president publicly celebrated the decision, heedless of the fact that he himself had fired Flynn. Trump made no effort to disguise his motivations. He wanted revenge. “I hope a lot of people are going to pay a big price because they’re dishonest, crooked people,” he told reporters. “They’re scum—and I say it a lot, they’re scum, they’re human scum.”

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