Trump Calls Flynn a 'Warrior' after DOJ Drops Charges in Another Blow to Mueller Probe

Michael Flynn
President Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse on June 24, 2019, in Washington, D.C. Alex Wroblewski/Getty

President Donald Trump called his former national security advisor a "warrior" on Thursday as the Department of Justice moved to drop its case against him—one of the most high-profile prosecutions stemming from the now-defunct special counsel's Russia probe.

"He was an innocent man," Trump said Thursday after learning the news. "Now in my book he's an even greater warrior."

Michael Flynn, who in December 2017 pleaded guilty to a charge of lying to law enforcement officials, had tangled with prosecutors for months over access to potentially exculpatory documents as he reshuffled his legal team and adopted a more hostile approach toward his sentencing.

Newsweek confirmed the news Thursday afternoon. It was first reported by the Associated Press.

With his new legal counsel, Flynn had also petitioned the court to withdraw his guilty plea amid what they thought was "bad faith, vindictiveness, and a breach of the plea agreement" on behalf of the government.

The case was initiated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian activity during the 2016 election, a probe that saw other Trump associates face jail time, and is among the most politically charged endeavors of the Trump presidency thus far.

Beyond Flynn, five other Trump associates have either pleaded guilty or been convicted in prosecutions arising from the Russia investigation.

In late April, internal FBI notes from the bureau's 2017 interview with Flynn were unsealed, adding grist to allegations of impropriety. In the notes, officials wondered what the goal of their interview with Flynn was.

"Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?" one note said.

"If we get him to admit to breaking the Logan Act, give facts to DOJ + have them decide," another note read.

The government noted in its motion to dismiss on Thursday that prosecutors no longer believe the Flynn interview was an essential component of the initial investigation into him, which is a prerequisite for a prosecution under the statute he was charged with violating.

"The interview of Mr. Flynn was untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI's counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn," the filing said.

The government called that ill-fated counterintelligence investigation "no longer justifiably predicated" by the time of the interview, noting that the FBI had been "prepared to close" it.

Since Flynn's guilty plea, Trump has offered unwavering support for his former advisor. His description of the ordeal has also become increasingly unfavorable, calling the prosecution a sham and floating the prospect of issuing a pardon.

"What happened to General Michael Flynn, a war hero, should never be allowed to happen to a citizen of the United States again," Trump wrote on Twitter in late April.

He also said last week that he would "certainly consider" inviting Flynn back to serve in the administration.

"They did everything possible to destroy him, and he's still breathing very strongly," the president told reporters at the time.