In a “leaked” phone call this week, former President Barack Obama expressed concern that the Department of Justice’s decision to drop the case against Michael Flynn was a sign that the “rule of law is at risk.”
The widely-reported remarks, which came in a phone call to members of the Obama Alumni Association, were almost certainly intended for widespread consumption; Obama’s diction and careful language is utterly unlike how you would speak to members of a close inner circle. Besides that, the comments are a clear indication that Obama is concerned about where the DOJ might turn next. Could be that the 44th president is a little bit worried about just how serious Attorney General Bill Barr is about getting to the bottom of his administration’s Russia hoax.
“The news over the last 24 hours I think has been somewhat downplayed — about the Justice Department dropping charges against Michael Flynn,” Obama said. “And the fact that there is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free. That’s the kind of stuff where you begin to get worried that basic — not just institutional norms — but our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk. And when you start moving in those directions, it can accelerate pretty quickly as we’ve seen in other places.”
Of course, Flynn was not being charged with “perjury” in the first place, but that’s merely a side note. Flynn actually plead guilty to lying to FBI agents in an interview that only came about because those FBI agents were trying their damnedest to get him to lie. To lie about something that he really didn’t need to lie about, seeing as how those FBI agents were using an obscure, never-really used 1700s law to convince him that he’d broken the law. In truth, he acted with honor and integrity. Which is more than we can say for Comey’s FBI.
Our guess is that Obama is (perhaps rightly) concerned that Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham are going to eventually figure out that the RussiaGate buck ends in the Oval Office. They’re going to realize that Obama was the ringleader of this circus from the very beginning. And then Obama and his above-it-all advisers and top administration officials are going to have to answer some very uncomfortable questions.
Maybe it’s a pipe dream.
But it’s one that we would love to see come true.