Nora Dannehy Just Gave Emmet Sullivan the Evidence of Extreme Abuse to Sentence Mike Flynn

Though the full DC Circuit sent the Mike Flynn case back for Judge Emmet Sullivan to rule on DOJ’s motion to dismiss, at least some of the judges on the panel seemed to believe only something extraordinary — like the judge witnessing bribery in his courtroom — would merit refusing to grant the motion to dismiss.

Nora Dannehy, in resigning from the Durham investigation Thursday night, just gave Judge Sullivan that extraordinary reason.

The Hartford Courant story breaking the news provides a one detail explaining why.

First, perhaps to explain the non-political aspect of why Dannehy quit, the report describes that she was told the assignment would take six months to a year when she first came back in March 2019.

Dannehy was told to expect an assignment of from six months to a year when she agreed to join Durham’s team in Washington, colleagues said. The work has taken far longer than expected, in part because of complications caused by the corona virus pandemic. In the meantime, team members – some of whom are current or former federal investigators or prosecutors with homes in Connecticut – have been working long hours in Washington under pressure to produce results, associates said.

That would have put whatever pre-determined conclusion Billy Barr expected between September 2019 and March 2020. Barr presumed he’d get that outcome, then, by the time around February 1 when he appointed Jeffrey Jensen — to review the Flynn prosecution and come up with some excuse to dismiss it.

When Catherine Herridge interviewed Barr in the wake of the motion to dismiss, Barr specifically said that he appointed Jensen when he did even though John Durham was investigating the very same things. He had to appoint Jensen, Barr explained, because of some filings in the case meant “we had to sorta move more quickly on it.”

President Trump recently tweeted about the Flynn case. He said, “What happened to General Flynn should never be allowed to happen to a citizen of the United States again.” Were you influenced in any way by the president or his tweets?

No, not at all. And, you know, I made clear during my confirmation hearing that I was gonna look into what happened in 2016 and ’17. I made that crystal clear. I was very concerned about what happened. I was gonna get to the bottom of it. And that included the treatment of General Flynn.

And that is part of John Durham, U.S. Attorney John Durham’s portfolio. The reason we had to take this action now and why U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen came in was because it was prompted by the motions that were filed in that case. And so we had to sorta move more quickly on it. But John Durham is still looking at all of this.

This is one particular episode, but we view it as part of a number of related acts. And we’re looking at the whole pattern of conduct.

Jensen, who was a firearms prosecutor, with no experience in counterintelligence, did truly shoddy work. At one point, he handed over some notes from Peter Strzok, claiming not to know they had to have been written on January 5, which caused the usual frothers to invent a new conspiracy theory out of them. Either he knew the overcall so poorly not to know the context, or he was just feeding the trolls. You decide.

He also made his decision without waiting to learn from Bill Priestap that the purpose of the Mike Flynn interview is precisely what every single piece of evidence said it was, to see whether Flynn would tell the truth about his calls with Sergei Kislyak. Instead, the decision came just before Covington and Burling would have had an opportunity to describe all the times Flynn lied to his lawyers in the process of submitting a FARA filing that still hid that he knew he had been working for Turkey.

In the second hearing before the DC Circuit, Jeff Wall revealed that the reason a hearing into DOJ’s reason for the motion to dismiss would do irreparable harm was because Billy Barr had a secret reason for dismissing the case, one pertaining to “non-public information from other investigations.”

The Attorney General sees this in a context of non-public information from other investigations.


I just want to make clear that it may be possible that the Attorney General had before him that he was not able to share with the court and so what we put in front of the court were the reasons that we could, but it may not be the whole picture available to the Executive Branch.


It’s just we gave three reasons; one of them was that the interests of justice were not longer served, in the Attorney General’s judgment, by the prosecution. The Attorney General made that decision, or that judgment, on the basis of lots of information, some of it is public and fleshed out in the motion, some of it is not.


If all we had to do was show up and stand on our motion, no, we’ve already said that to the District Court.

The revised explanation prosecutor Jocelyn Ballantine offered for the motion to dismiss says that key witnesses, including Strzok, have been discredited (though as John Gleeson noted in his reply brief, her filing also relied on Strzok’s expertise).

All of which provides a good deal of evidence that Barr’s plan was to use Durham’s results to say that Mike Flynn shouldn’t be prosecuted (not even for selling out the country with Turkey). When those results didn’t come in on time, Barr told Jensen to go dig up evidence that had already been shared and reviewed by DOJ IG and the Durham inquiry, claim it was new (when much of it wasn’t even new to Judge Sullivan), and based on that, flip-flopped off of DOJ’s previous support for prison time.

Yesterday, Dannehy made it clear that the results of the Durham inquiry have also been pre-determined. (Though I half wonder whether the Durham team reviewed Peter Strzok’s book, found ready explanations to questions that neither HJC/OGR nor SSCI bothered to ask about the investigation — most likely about how the team chose four targets — and realized they were chasing hoaxes invented by Fox News.)

There’s is increasing evidence that Billy Barr moved to dismiss Flynn’s prosecution based of the results he is demanding Durham produce.

Barr may still get Durham to produce the results he has demanded. But that may not come before Judge Sullivan has an opportunity to ask about it.

32 replies
  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It’s as if Bill Barr has spent his entire time as AG planning and executing multiple, overlapping ways to get Trump out of the holes he digs for himself. The whole of his time. But, no, he’s not politicizing the DoJ, not any more than he did when he worked for George H.W. Bush.

  2. BayStateLibrul says:

    We are at the end game, the eleventh hour, where Barr is pulling his last ditch efforts to smear Biden.
    It doesn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to spot the shady characters in this drama.
    I wish the entire DOJ would resign “en banc” and call attention to the clowns running this shit show.

  3. Ginevra diBenci says:

    Barr remains the greatest threat to our democracy. More than Trump, who has largely been revealed as the pathetic man behind the curtain, although 40% will cling to the image of the great orange Oz roaring between fonts of fire. Trump’s main purpose now is to distract us from the real damage being done under his aegis by those who will ensure their power outlasts him. Barr and his ilk never die; they just go into “private practice,” waiting for their time to come once more, having seeded the exact systemic rot to ensure that it will.

    • Tom says:

      I tend to agree. I think Trump has enough insight and self-awareness to know and accept that he’s basically a con man, albeit a con man who has pulled off probably the biggest con job in history; i.e., getting himself elected President of the United States despite being so manifestly unfit for the job and being dogged by countless scandals, any one of which would have scuppered any other candidate’s chances of gaining the White House. Trump even managed to con himself. Michael Cohen confirmed to Rachel Maddow last week that Trump didn’t expect to win the 2016 election and never even wanted to be President, something I’ve long suspected.

      Unlike Trump, Bill Barr has the powers of self-deception and sanctimonious self-righteousness of the True Believer, whether he’s working on behalf of the Unitary Executive or Holy Mother Church. In his recent interview with Wolf Blitzer, Barr denied that there was systemic racism in America; unlike Donald Trump who, on one of Bob Woodward tapes, was honest enough to agree that people of color do face systemic racism in their own country.

      As for the Durham Report, it’s ludicrously obvious that Barr has already decided what its findings are going to be, otherwise why would he be in such a hurry to get it out–or at least an interim report–before the election? And does Barr really think he’s going to change any minds? Unless Durham writes something along the lines of “It was Colonel Mustard in the library with a candlestick”, I doubt that many people will even read the report. The real purpose of the Durham Report seems to be to provide extra copy for the folks at Fox News and other right wing outlets.

      Trump may not deserve a Nobel Prize, but perhaps he’d be satisfied with some sort of Con Man of the Century Award, one with gold plating that would rub off on his hands, an inscription that would fade away in sunlight, ornamentation that would snap off in his little hands, and a heavy base that would come loose and land on his foot.

  4. Savage Librarian says:

    Marcy, thanks so much for all your astute analysis, discipline, logic, rationality, integrity, and dedication to democracy. We are so much better off because of all you do.

    Yesterday I heard Anthony Scaramucci say that he is in private discussions with people and expects a “cascade” of individuals to be leaving the Trump administration by October, if not before. The implication was that some of them would be revealing important information. So, I now wonder if the Nora Dannehy resignation is the beginning of that.

  5. Rugger9 says:

    I still wonder about Ms Dannehy’s timing for her resignation, because AG Barr jumped the proverbial shark long ago, and the outlines were crystal clear 3-4 months ago including the protest overreaches, yet she stayed until just this week. My spidey sense says it’s never accidental when someone resigns like this, so what was the last straw for Nora?

    Was it the Derkach revelations, dropping a day or so before her resignation and confirmed by Lev Parnas today?

    OT, but what the hell happened in the GA Q-Anon district where the D candidate abruptly resigned for “personal reasons” but was careful to say there weren’t threats involved.

    Also OT, but there was a sheriff deputy placed on admin leave for saying ANTIFA set the OR fires (false).

    • Rugger9 says:

      That deputy was in Clackamas County and the Sheriff dealt with it quickly, however outside of Portland much of OR is MAGA territory.

      There were also reports that Mr. Reinoehl was unarmed when shot and that the police did not identify themselves before opening fire (DJT bragged about it in a tweet), as opposed to how Rittenhouse and Roof were treated. I wonder what the difference is?

    • MB says:

      Re the first OT: I heard that the Dem candidate running against the QAnon candidate (GA-T) for whatever reasons went through a sudden divorce a month ago in the midst of the campaign trail and basically quit to deal with these personal issues. He didn’t think he was going to win anyway…prolly the minority Dems in the district will write his name in anyway. The GOP Sec’y of State of Georgia, in interpreting statutes very strictly is within his legal rights to deny the Dems a “replacement candidate” if he so chooses to play hardball, because it’s less than 60 days to the election. If it was greater than 60, he’d be required to give that permission…

  6. Will Pollock says:

    manufacturing bullcrap evidence just as clumsy as Billy Barr attempting to fire Geoff Berman (we got Audrey Strauss instead, thank god) and toward the same end of inoculating donald and unblaming Russia

  7. porthos says:

    Durham is a prosecutor. Prosecutors don’t usually write reports. They gather evidence and present it to grand juries. If the evidence is solid a grand jury can indict. Perhaps Dannehy felt a report went outside the scope of a prosecutor’s job description? If so, why is Durham humoring Barr with this farce? As a prosecutor he can just say no to generating a report which is something prosecutors normally don’t do. What hold does Barr have over him to keep him plodding along on this farcical assignment? Supposedly he used to be respected and had a modicum of integrity.

    • Epicurus says:

      It’s more likely Dunham isn’t humoring Barr at all but that he believes as Barr does. That is what Dannehy probably figured out. She was used. Her sense of grace and honor probably precludes her from talking publicly about Dunham and/or Barr but I suspect that is the most likely reason.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Dannehy served as prosecutor in our local jurisdiction; she was universally and it seemed deservedly respected for her dedication, knowledge and fairness. She joined the Durham team out of personal and professional fealty to him, and (I’m guessing) the private fear of his being commandeered by Barr for political ends. This decision to resign would be wrenching for her to make. It probably sends a much louder message within DOJ ranks than to the public. I am just praying that Barr can’t persuade Durham into some flashy indictment. They caught the FISA misrepresentation by Clinesmith, but are clearly gunning for bigger game.

        • Epicurus says:

          Again, it is most likely that Dunham doesn’t need to be persuaded to do a flashy indictment. If Barr got dunham to take the investigation (I assume that is how it works at that level), Dunham was already 90% of the way there.

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