Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley shut down former President Obama’s warning that the “rule of law is at risk” after the DOJ dropped charges against former national security adviser retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
“The news over the last 24 hours I think has been somewhat downplayed — about the Justice Department dropping charges against Michael Flynn,” Obama was quoted saying Friday.
“And the fact that there is no precedent that anybody can find for somebody 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,” he said.
Turley wrote on Twitter of Obama’s statement, “‘There is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free’ was a ‘curious statement’ for several reasons.”
“First, ‘Flynn was not charged with perjury.’ Second, ‘We now know Obama discussed charging Flynn under the Logan Act which has never been used successfully to convict anyone and is flagrantly unconstitutional,’” Turley wrote in a Twitter thread.
Jonathan Turley, a self-proclaimed liberal who was a witness during the impeachment proceedings against President Trump, added also another point that Obama’s comment “reaffirms reports that Obama was personally invested in this effort.”
Lastly, Turley pointed out that he believes there is indeed precedent for what took place with Flynn.
“Finally, there is precedent,” Turley wrote. “There is a specific rule allowing for this motion under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 48(a). There are specific Supreme Court cases like Rinaldi v. United States addressing the standard for such dismissals. The Justice Department has dismissed cases in the past including the Stevens case. That was requested by President Obama’s own Attorney General Eric Holder for the same reason: misconduct by prosecutors. It was done before the same judge, Judge Sullivan.”
“How is that for precedent?” Turley asked.
The DOJ announced on Thursday that it is dropping criminal charges against Flynn.
“The United States of America hereby moves to dismiss with prejudice the criminal information filed against Michael T. Flynn,” U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Timothy Shea said in a court briefing, “The government has determined, pursuant to the principles of federal prosecution and based on an extensive review and careful consideration of the circumstances, that continued prosecution of this case would not serve the interests of justice.”