The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit announced Thursday that it will consider whether a lower-court judge can be forced to dismiss a felony charge against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Flynn had pleaded guilty in 2017 to a felony charge of lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents regarding his interactions with Russia leading up to the 2016 election. He reaffirmed his plea in 2018 but has since attempted to rescind it.

The Justice Department supported Flynn by moving to drop the case, saying the investigation should never have taken place in the first place and citing alleged FBI misconduct.

However, the DOJ decision prompted a slew of backlash as many accused Attorney General William Barr of acting in a biased manner to benefit President Donald Trump and a close ally of his.


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U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan stepped in to prevent the DOJ from immediately dropping charges, and instead appointed an outside adviser to look into alternatives. He had scheduled a hearing earlier this month, but it was canceled after a split three-judge appeals court panel ruled that the move was not within the scope of his authority.

The full appeals court said seven Democratic appointees and three Republican appointees will hear the case en banc on Aug. 11. One of the judges, Trump appointee Greg Katsas, recused himself.

The court requested the parties involved to demonstrate whether Flynn has “no other adequate means to attain the relief” in its one-page order.

The latest move in the case prompted criticism from prominent Trump allies and praise from Democratic lawmakers.

“The General Flynn case has gone from being a joke to scary,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) tweeted Thursday. “The idea that federal judges would stop the government from dropping a case against a criminal defendant based on newly discovered evidence and abuse of power by the prosecution is stunning.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) commended the move, arguing the case needs to be reviewed in order to “uphold the rule of law.”

“The right first step toward correcting a mind-bogglingly wrong decision,” he tweeted. “The full court must permit Judge Sullivan to review AG Barr’s corrupting interference & uphold the rule of law. The integrity of the court itself is at stake.”

Mark Levin, a conservative commentator and lawyer, called the decision to rehear the case “outrageous.”

“The Democrat-controlled DC Court of Appeals Is about to jump into the lawless abyss in the Michael Flynn case,” he wrote. “OUTRAGEOUS! The Courts are losing all credibility.”

The timeline of the case means Flynn will likely remain uninvolved in Trump’s reelection efforts, since a decision is unlikely to come immediately after the Aug. 11 hearing.

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