I noted several examples on Twitter yesterday of the “Greek Chorus” for “Former Federal Prosecutors” banging cymbals like wind-up monkeys and shrieking “Federal prosecutors don’t normally resign so this is all a protest of the corrupt acts of Attorney General Barr!” Here are a couple of examples:
It is exceedingly rare for DOJ prosecutors to resign in protest, and this is the 2nd one this year to do so bc of improper political influence.
This tells you all that you need to know about the bastardization of the Durham investigation by Bill Barr. https://t.co/ajJDnVXdim
— Daniel Goldman (@danielsgoldman) September 11, 2020
Let's not forget that it is just not normal for career prosecutors to resign from the Justice Department or high-profile cases — but that happened in the Stone and Flynn cases, and the Durham investigation, where the #2 just resigned. Barr is destroying the rule of law for POTUS
— Andrew Weissmann (@AWeissmann_) September 11, 2020
Both of these are inaccurate and dishonest.
First, we don’t know why Dannehy chose to resign. I noted in this story earlier that the time she has served with Durham takes her past her 20 year DOJ service time benchmark, given that when she left DOJ in 2010 she had only 19 years of service.
It’s also possible that her role in the Durham investigation had come to an end, and that maybe it was necessary for her to depart to preserve the integrity of the cases that might be coming shortly.
But to say that her departure is in league with the departures of SCO prosecutors from problematic cases they handled is simply duplicitous.
Brandon Van Grack withdrew from the Flynn case — but remained with DOJ so Bill Barr is still his boss — because DOJ elected to move to dismiss the case, and among the justifications for dismissing the case was that it should have never been brought, and because information had not been timely produced to the defense. At the time of the motion, Gen. Flynn had a motion to withdraw his guilty plea pending, with the time for the government’s response fast approaching. The decision had to be made to either 1) oppose the motion to withdraw the guilty plea, or 2) move to dismiss the case.
When the decision was made to dismiss, that is clearly something that Van Grack would not have agreed with — especially since one of the reasons is the failure of the government to turn over records in a timely manner. Although Gen. Flynn’s counsel has alleged misconduct against Van Grack, DOJ has always disputed that. Without overtly pointing a finger of blame, the strong suggestion seems to be that DOJ views the failure to disclose as one that rests with the FBI’s failure to deliver information to Van Grack.
As for the justification that the case should never have been brought, that rests in large part on the idea that the interview on Jan. 24, 2017, was not “material” at that time, which predates the SCO. Van Grack may agree or disagree, but his view is irrelevant because it’s only an opinion, and his opinions do not dictate DOJ policy.
He didn’t “resign” in protest — he quit the case because there was nothing left for him to do, and it’s not a good look to have advocated a prosecution for over two years only to then sign a motion saying “My error. Please dismiss.”
As for the prosecutors on the Stone case, they “quit” — only one actually left DOJ — over an issue where they were wrong. The position they advocated for sentencing Stone was not supported by the case law they cited, and it was contrary to DOJ policy. This point was established WITHOUT CONTRADICTION when the Judge who sentenced Stone said she agreed with the revised Sentencing Statement filed on Barr’s instruction — and explicitly disagreed with the position that had been advocated in the Sentencing Statement filed by the original trial team — finding that 40 months was an appropriate sentencing taking all factors into account, and in light of sentences imposed on defendants in similar circumstances.
And the most outspoken of the four trial team members — FOUR AUSAs to try a case lasting 4 days and having 5 witnesses — Aaron Zelinsky, is still with DOJ, working for Trump-appointed US Attorney Robert Hur, a former law clerk for that diabolical conservative Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
So, I guess Weissman and Goldman are defending the proposition that being idiotic in your sentencing recommendations is “ethical”, but ordering that an inappropriate sentencing statement be withdrawn and an appropriate statement substituted in its place is “corrupt.”
THAT tells you all you need to know about Weissmann and Goldman — two Democrat partisans who are as dishonest as they are liberal.