Why Obama's Concerned About the 'Rule of Law'

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Posted: May 09, 2020 5:08 PM
Why Obama's Concerned About the 'Rule of Law'

Source: AP Photo/Larry Downing, Pool

Former President Barack Obama believes the "rule of law" is at risk because the Department of Justice decided to drop perjury charges against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, a leaked recording obtained by Yahoo News revealed.

“The news over the last 24 hours I think has been somewhat downplayed — about the Justice Department dropping charges against Michael Flynn,” the former president told members of the Obama Alumni Association in a conference call on Friday. “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.”

It's no surprise that Obama is upset with the DOJ's move. After all, newly-released documents show Obama had a meeting with former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office in January 2017. The president alerted Yates to a phone call between Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that took place in December 2016.

Here are the key facts Katie pointed out:

"Yates first learned of the December 2016 calls between [LTG Michael] Flynn and [Russian Ambassador to the United States, Sergey] Kislyak on January 5, 2017, while in the Oval Office. Yates, along with then FBI-Director James Comey, then-CIA Director John Brennan, and then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, were at the White House to brief members of the Obama Administration on the classified Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian Activities in Recent U.S Elections. President Obama was joined by his National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, and others from the National Security Council," the document states.

"After the briefing, Obama dismissed the group but asked Yates and Comey to stay behind. Obama started by saying he had 'learned of the information about Flynn' and his conversation with Kislyak about sanctions. Obama specified he did not want any additional information on the matter, but was seeking information on whether the White House should be treating Flynn any differently, given the information. At that point, Yates had no idea what the President was talking about, but figured it out based on the conversation. Yates recalled Comey mentioning the Logan Act, but can't recall if he specified there was an 'investigation,'" it continues.

Not only did Obama take issue with the Flynn case, but he also took issue with how the Wuhan coronavirus is being handled by the White House.

According to the former president, Trump's response to the Wuhan coronavirus has been "anemic and spotty" because Americans have become "selfish" and we're "being tribal, being divided."

"It would have been bad even with the best of governments. It has been an absolute chaotic disaster when that mindset of 'What's in it for me and to heck with everybody else,' when that mindset is operationalized in our government," Obama said.  

The former president used the opportunity to say he would do all he needed to do to campaign for former Vice President Joe Biden.

“That’s why, I, by the way, am going to be spending as much time as necessary and campaigning as hard as I can for Joe Biden,” he said.

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