President Donald Trump on June 13 praised the new lawyer hired by his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, whose sentencing is approaching after multiple delays. Attorney Sidney Powell confirmed her new role to The Epoch Times on June 12.
Also on June 13, the Democrat-led House Intelligence Committee issued subpoenas against Flynn as part of its own probe into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The panel also subpoenaed Trump’s former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates.
Trump, on Twitter, commended Flynn’s previous military service and wished the best for both him and Powell. Flynn hired Powell—a prominent critic of the Justice Department—after he fired his defense counsel on June 6.
“General Michael Flynn, the 33 year war hero who has served with distinction, has not retained a good lawyer, he has retained a GREAT LAWYER, Sidney Powell,” Trump said. “Best Wishes and Good Luck to them both!”
General Michael Flynn, the 33 year war hero who has served with distinction, has not retained a good lawyer, he has retained a GREAT LAWYER, Sidney Powell. Best Wishes and Good Luck to them both!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2019
Powell responded to the president on Twitter, saying she was “honored.”
Thank you Mr. President!! 🇺🇲🇺🇲🇺🇲
— Sidney Powell 🇺🇸⭐⭐⭐ (@SidneyPowell1) June 13, 2019
Powell will ask for a 90-day extension in the upcoming status report with the court, because there is “a lot of information to process.”
Powell’s office said in a statement on June 12 that Flynn will still continue to work with the government. “Attorney Powell is honored to represent General Flynn and he will continue to cooperate with the government in all matters,” according to the statement.
Powell told The Epoch Times in an interview on June 1 that it was “absurd” that the Department of Justice could suggest bringing up obstruction of justice charges against the president, and criticized the special counsel.
“I was extremely disappointed in Mr. Mueller’s press conference … just completely turns the presumption of innocence upside down and puts the burden on the president to prove that he’s innocent, instead of accepting the burden on the government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” she said.
In 2014, Powell authored a book featuring a scathing critique of the Justice Department titled “Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice.”
Trump’s opponents used the case against Flynn to add fuel to allegations that Trump colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election. The allegations proved to be unsubstantiated after multiple investigations by Congress, the FBI, and Mueller.
Flynn pleaded guilty to providing false statements to the FBI during a January 2017 interview, as part of a deal to cooperate with Mueller’s team and federal prosecutors.
Flynn also pleaded guilty to lying about his foreign lobbying disclosures, regarding the extent to which his work benefiting the Turkish government was overseen by that government. Foreign lobbying paperwork violations are seldom prosecuted. Flynn said the work started in August 2016. He shut down his lobbying firm in November 2016.
As part of the deal, Flynn was only charged with lying to the FBI and not with lying about the lobbying disclosures.
His two associates in the Turkey deal, Bijan Rafiekian and Kamil Ekim Alptekin, face charges for conspiring to act as unregistered foreign lobbyists and for lying about foreign lobbying disclosures. Alptekin was also charged with lying to the FBI.