Barack Obama’s decision to comment about the Michael Flynn case has the Wall Street Journal‘s editorial board scratching their heads as to “what he’s really worried about.”
“Barack Obama is a lawyer, so it was stunning to read that he ventured into the Michael Flynn case in a way that misstated the supposed crime and ignored the history of his own Administration in targeting Mr. Flynn. Since the former President chose to offer his legal views when he didn’t need to, we wonder what he’s really worried about.”
In the past couple of weeks, evidence that Trump’s former national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn was set up by FBI agents in a perjury trap resulted in his case being dropped by the Justice Department. Soon after, the release of declassified documents and testimony revealed that Barack Obama was aware that Flynn was being wiretapped and was briefed on the details of conversations he was having with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
In a private call with former members of his administration, Obama weighed in on the DOJ dropping the charges against Flynn, bizarrely claiming that it was unprecedented, and incorrectly claiming that Flynn was charged with perjury. Audio of the call was leaked to the media.
“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.”
Listening to the call you can hear that Obama sounds shaky, even nervous discussing it. And there’s plenty of reason. In addition to setting up a perjury trap for Flynn, Obama officials also withheld exculpatory evidence and investigated Trump and his associates over alleged Russian collusion even though they had no empirical evidence of that collusion. Declassified documents also showed that Obama was aware of the bogus investigation and efforts to railroad Michael Flynn.
As Attorney General Barr has explained, the FBI had no justifiable reason for questioning Flynn in the first place, since, as the incoming national security adviser, it was well within standard practices for him to be having conversations with foreign ambassadors, such as Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.
Who’s on the List? Acting DNI Richard Grenell Declassifies Names of Obama Officials Who ‘Unmasked’ Flynn
“Donald Trump’s victory increased the chances that this unprecedented spying on a political opponent would be uncovered, which would have been politically embarrassing at the very least,” the Wall Street Journal noted. “Targeting Mr. Flynn—and flogging the discredited Steele dossier—kept the Russia collusion pot boiling and evolved into the two-year Mueller investigation that turned up no evidence of collusion.”
“This among other things is what U.S. Attorney John Durham is investigating at the request of Attorney General William Barr. Maybe that’s why Mr. Obama is so eager to distort the truth of the Flynn prosecution,” they mused.
That sounds about right. Barack Obama should be worried. We know that the bogus investigation of Trump and his associates over Russian collusion was completely bogus. This was already a huge scandal, and now that we know Obama was being briefed on it, it’s even bigger.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis