The Washington Post headline reads (emphasis mine): “Federal judge hires high-powered D.C. attorney to defend his actions in Flynn case.” Which gives some insight into the framework and purpose of this event, and how it reached the WaPo narrative engineers.
The Washington Post is, as an institution, adverse to the interests of Michael Flynn. So this story, specifically the events behind the story, is written in a posture to aid Judge Sullivan and oppose Flynn. Keep that in mind (I’ll explain after).
Judge Sullivan has hired a high profile DC lawyer to assist him in responding to the inquires of the DC circuit:
(…) In a rare step that adds to this criminal case’s already unusual path, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan has retained Beth Wilkinson to represent him in defending his decision to a federal appeals court in Washington, according to a person familiar with the hire who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
(…) Wilkinson, known for her top-notch legal skills and get-results style, is expected to file a notice with the court in the coming week about representing the judge. She declined to comment when reached Friday evening. Sullivan also declined to comment through his office.
(…) A federal judge doesn’t typically hire private counsel to respond to an appeals court, and yet so much about Flynn’s case has been a departure from the norm.
(…) Flynn’s lawyers then accused Sullivan of bias and asked the U.S. Court of Appeals to intervene. On Thursday, that higher court took the extraordinary step of ordering Sullivan to answer within 10 days. The court also invited the Justice Department to comment.
(…) Wilkinson, a go-to advocate for prominent officials snared in major Washington investigations and high-stakes legal battles, now joins the fray. (read more)
I’m not going into the weeds to outline the motives of Beth Wilkinson. Suffice to say the reason she is considered ‘high-profile’ or ‘high-powered’ is because of her connections to the DC system; a political system that frequently becomes enmeshed with the legal system. Beth Wilkinson is well-connected; that’s the part that matters.
A federal judge hiring a well-connected lawyer to write his response to a DC circuit court appeals panel is the part that’s interesting. There’s no guarantee the appeals court will accept such a response; but that’s also another issue. Bottom line: Judge Sullivan is importing a lawyer to represent his interests. Very unusual.
CTH readers are smart; aware and smart enough not to get stuck in the weeds; so let’s stay elevated on this and look at the whole picture. Consider this decision by Judge Emmet Sullivan through the prism of recent events surrounding Flynn:
♦ The DOJ joined with the defense position and filed an unopposed motion to drop the case against Michael Flynn.
♦ A USAO from Missouri, Jeff Jensen, has discovered a trail of internal evidence pointing toward a corrupt originating prosecution for the case against Flynn. Mr. Jensen has been revealing those documents and providing them to the court (and defense).
♦ Meanwhile DNI Ric Grenell has declassified and revealed documents showing a corrupt intent by the U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) against Michael Flynn.
♦ Just yesterday (5/22/20) the FBI Director announced an internal investigation into officials inside the FBI for wrongful conduct specifically as it relates to a corrupt operation, now discovered and public, against Michael Flynn.
Additionally, we shall not play games and ignore the obvious.
Judge Emmet Sullivan is well aware of the reason why former Judge Rudolph “Rudy” Contreras was recused from the Flynn case; only days after accepting the first plea agreement, and less than 72 hours after the Peter Strzok and Lisa Page text messages publicly surfaced.
Lisa Page: “Rudy is on the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court]! Did you know that?” “Just appointed two months ago”
Peter Strzok: “I did. We talked about it before and after. I need to get together with him.”
On November 30th, 2017, Mike Flynn signed a guilty plea; ostensibly admitting lying to investigators. The plea was accepted by Judge Rudolph “Rudy” Contreras; who is also a FISA court judge. Six days later, December 7, 2017, Judge Contreras “was recused” from the case without explanation.
If the conflict -which required recusal- existed on December 7, 2017, wouldn’t that same conflict have existed days earlier on November 30th?
The same DC circuit now ordering Judge Sullivan to explain his decision-making, is the same DC circuit that previously recused and replaced Judge Contreras from the Flynn case. None of this, including the specific tone of the panel in their order, is disconnected from the larger background.
So when we take everything in total, the decision by Sullivan to hire a high-profile and well connected DC lawyer to represent his interests in the Flynn case…. well, it looks to me like Sullivan just hired himself a defense attorney.
The phase of the “resistance” that federal Judge Emmet Sullivan was participating in, and had a role to play, is now almost totally engulfed in sunlight. With few options for deniability and justification remaining, Sullivan has hired himself a lawyer.