When he first acknowledged lying to the FBI more than two years ago, Michael Flynn brought the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election to the doorstep of the White House and President Donald Trump's inner-circle.
While he was then the fourth ex-Trump aide to face criminal charges in special counsel Robert Muellerís inquiry, the former national security adviser was the first to be prosecuted for conduct during Trumpís presidency when he lied about his contacts with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
In subsequent months, he repeatedly acknowledged his crimes and was once moments away from accepting his fate as a convicted felon.
On Thursday, the Justice Department took its boldest step yetto cast doubt on the the legitimacy of Muellerís investigation by abruptly dropping its case against the retired Army general.
The decision, which already has revived fresh speculation about Attorney General William Barr's close relationship with the White House, comes just more than a week after Trump claimed that newly released FBI notes outlining agents' strategy in advance of their 2017 interview in the retired Army general's White House office exonerated Flynn.