Covington and Burling LLP, the former defense team for former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, turned over thousands of more pages of documents to Flynn’s new defense team that should have been submitted more than a year ago. Last week, another batch of documents withheld by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team on Flynn was turned over to his defense that allegedly reveals that the retired three-star general did not commit any crimes, as suggested by Department of Justice prosecutors.
This new batch of voluminous documentation turned over by his former defense team – which includes emails, texts, voice messages, notebooks, handwritten notes and legal documents – amounted to approximately 6,800 additional documents bringing the total amount of documents to roughly 669,800, along with attachments.
In early April, Flynn’s former law firm revealed to the court that it had discovered emails and handwritten notes that were not turned in with the original batch of millions of documents that were required by the court to be turned over last year. At the time, they suggested the delay was due to technical issues since being ordered by the presiding federal judge six months ago to turn over all documents.
At the time, presiding Federal Judge Emmet T. Sullivan, ordered the law firm to ‘promptly turn over the entire file’ on Flynn to his new defense attorney Sidney Powell. That order was made under threat of a hearing before the District of Columbia Ethics Counsel. The law firm turned over what is described as a ‘voluminous’ amount of documents but it apparently wasn’t all the documents. In early April the law firm hinted in its supplemental notice filed with the court that there may even be more documents still to be produced.
Powell told this reporter Tuesday that she is astonished that Covington and Burling LLP had failed to locate the documents earlier and just now turned over another voluminous batch to her team.
“The Flynn defense is stunned that Covington and Burling has only now found thousands of additional documents amounting to more than 17,000 pages that should have been produced to the defense almost a year ago,” she stated. Powell, who has been battling for documents from the Department of Justice as well, said the enormity of documents withheld from Flynn’s defense is proof of the misconduct against her client.
Powell obtained the new information from the DOJ after an extensive review by attorneys appointed by U.S. Attorney General William Barr to review Flynn’s case. Barr’s team included United States attorney in St. Louis, Jeff Jensen, who is handling the Flynn matter, along with prosecutors from the office of the deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen. The documented evidence Powell said will exonerate Flynn was delivered to Powell but is under court seal.
Tuesday’s supplemental notice, which was signed by Flynn’s former defense counsel Robert Kelner with Covington and Burling LLP, stated that the reason the documents were turned over so late to Powell was due to “an unintentional miscommunication involving the firm” information technology personnel had led them, in some instances, to run search terms on subsets of emails the firm had collected for its response to document requests United States v. [Bijan] Rafiekian, the case involving Mr. Flynn’s business partner and their FARA-related work through their consulting firm, rather than on the broader sets of emails that should have been searched.”
Rafikian, Flynn’s former business partner, had been indicted on two criminal counts by government prosecutors, which included conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government, according to his original unsealed indictment. Rafiekian’s conviction, however, was overturned in an unexpected move by the court, which cited that prosecutors had ‘insufficient evidence’ to prove their case against him.
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Biden Administration Proposes Rule to Fortify Federal Bureaucracy Against Republican Presidency
In a strategic move, the Biden administration has unveiled a proposed rule aimed at reinforcing the left-leaning federal bureaucracy, potentially hindering future conservative policy implementations by Republican presidents. This move has raised concerns about the efficacy of democratic elections when a deep-seated bureaucracy remains largely unchanged, regardless of electoral outcomes.
Key points of the situation include:
Presidential Appointees vs. Career Bureaucrats: Of the 2.2 million federal civil workers, only 4,000 are presidential appointees. The vast majority, made up of career bureaucrats, continue in their roles from one administration to the next. This continuity is facilitated by rules that make it exceedingly difficult to discipline or replace them, resulting in a bureaucracy that tends to lean left politically.
Union Political Affiliation: A striking 95% of unionized federal employees who donate to political candidates support Democrats, according to Open Secrets, with only 5% favoring Republicans. This significant political skew among federal workers raises questions about the potential for political bias in the execution of government policies.
Obstructionism and Challenges for GOP Presidents: Some career bureaucrats have been accused of obstructing Republican presidents’ agendas, leading to policy delays and challenges. For example, during the Trump administration, career lawyers in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division declined to challenge Yale University’s discrimination against Asian American applicants, prompting Trump to seek legal counsel from other divisions. The case was subsequently dropped when Joe Biden took office.
Biden’s Countermeasures: President Biden has taken steps to protect the bureaucracy’s status quo. In October 2020, Trump issued an executive order aiming to reclassify federal workers who make policy as at-will employees, but Biden canceled it upon taking office.
Proposed Rule and Congressional Actions: The rule unveiled by the Biden administration seeks to further impede a president’s ability to reinstate Trump’s order. Additionally, some Democrats in Congress are pushing to eliminate the president’s authority to reclassify jobs entirely. This has been referred to as an attempt to “Trump-proof the federal workforce.”
Republican Candidates’ Pledge: GOP candidates such as President Donald J Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Ron DeSantis have pledged to address this issue. According to reports from Fox News, Ramaswamy has gone further, advocating for the elimination of half or more of civil service positions, emphasizing the need for accountability.
Debate on the Merit of the Civil Service: While Democrats and their media allies argue that civil service protects merit over patronage, critics contend that the system has evolved into a form of job security for federal workers with minimal accountability. Federal employees often receive higher salaries and more substantial benefits than their private-sector counterparts.
In summary, the Biden administration’s proposed rule and broader actions to protect the federal bureaucracy have sparked a debate over the role of career bureaucrats in shaping government policy.
Republican candidates are vowing to address these concerns, highlighting the need for accountability and ensuring that government agencies work in alignment with the elected president’s agenda. This ongoing debate raises important questions about the relationship between the bureaucracy and the democratic process in the United States.
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