U.S. Sen. Doug Jones took Attorney General William Barr to task Friday, saying Barr had tossed aside the rule of law in the Justice Department’s decision to drop a 3-year-old criminal case against former Trump Administration National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
”As a former U.S. attorney, I have to say I was absolutely appalled,” Jones, D-Ala., said during a Friday video news conference. “The attorney general, I think, has basically thrown the rule of law out the window” and “given a green light for people to lie to the FBI.”
As has been widely reported. Trump fired Flynn in early 2017, saying he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of conversations he had recently had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Flynn later pleaded guilty twice in federal court to lying to investigators. He even publicly apologized in court, saying, “I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong, and through my faith in God, I am working to set things right.”
Over time, the case against Flynn drew a lot of criticism, particularly in media outlets favored by President Trump. Barr had a U.S. attorney review the case, and documents released through that review led Trump to charge that “dirty, filthy cops at the top of the FBI” had targeted Flynn. Trump has called Flynn, a retired Army general, “a great warrior,” and called those who investigated him “human scum.” Barr has said that what Flynn did was not a crime.
In his remarks today, Jones said Flynn was “not a great American.”
“Great Americans do not lie to the vice president,” Jones said. “Great Americans do not lie about their involvement with Russia when you are in a high-level position in the White House. Great Americans do not lie to the FBI. Great Americans do not stand in front of a federal judge, admit they have committed a felony, a crime, and admit it under oath, and then start whining about it because someone, an investigator, may have crossed the line.”
Taking aim at some of Trump’s remarks after the Justice Department dropped the case, Jones said, “I think the president was absolutely, unequivocally wrong in calling FBI (agents) scum … . Those men and women in the FBI are doing a remarkable job, and when you paint (them with) such a broad brush because of one of your friends, who was convicted and you let off, I think is … a disservice to a great organization.
“I have confidence in director (Christopher) Wray to continue the good work of the FBI,” Jones said.