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Michael Flynn’s judge just struck a potent blow for the rule of law

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Judge Emmet G. Sullivan saw it coming.

The veteran jurist presiding over Michael Flynn’s sentencing had seen the filing by President Trump’s former national security adviser alleging that he was essentially tricked into lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. No doubt, he had seen Trump’s false claim that the FBI concluded that Flynn “didn’t lie,” yet “tremendous pressure” was being put on him.

And Sullivan likely had seen all the chatter in the Fox News echo chamber about the alleged “perjury trap” special counsel Robert S. Mueller III had set for Flynn — an attempt to discredit the entire investigation. If the judge accepted the recommendation from prosecutors not to sentence Flynn to prison time because of his cooperation, Flynn would be free to leave the courthouse and hold a news conference claiming he had been set up.

But Sullivan was having none of it. First, he required Flynn to acknowledge repeatedly that he accepted a guilty plea and took responsibility for making false statements. The judge then struck a potent blow for the rule of law.

“Not only did you lie to the FBI, you lied to senior officials in the incoming administration,” Sullivan told a startled Flynn. Beckoning to the flag, the judge continued: “All along, you were an unregistered agent of a foreign country while serving as the........

© Washington Post