“There is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free.”
-Barack Obama, on the withdrawal of the case against Michael Flynn
So much to unpack in a short sentence.
Of course there are many precedents for getting off (we’ll get to “scot-free” later) from being charged for perjury. Anybody can easily find them. For example, like Bill Clinton, you’re found innocent of the charge. He didn’t get off scot-free, though. He was disbarred and paid a $25K fine over Monica Lewinski, plus a $90K fine for false testimony and $850K in settlement in the Paula Jones case.
As to perjury, that wasn’t the charge laid on General Flynn. He was charged with lying to the FBI. This is simple enough that we can depend on Wikipedia:
“Perjury is the intentional act of swearing a false oath or falsifying an affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to an official proceeding.”
Flynn was not only not under oath, he was led to believe the meeting engineered by the FBI was happenstance. An oath, in itself, would have provided notification that one was under investigation. Flynn received no such notification and was deliberately led to believe he was just having a chat. Bushwhacked is an appropriate term.
Perjury, if it were at issue, requires materiality. As does the actual charge against Flynn. Emphasis mine:
“Under federal law, a false statement made to investigators is actionable only if it is material to the matter under investigation. If there was no basis to believe Flynn had committed a crime, his counsel could have argued that any false statements allegedly made by Flynn when he was questioned in January 2017 were immaterial. Ergo, Ms. Powell contends that the withholding of this information violated the government’s duty to disclose exculpatory evidence.”
And don’t forget, the answer over which he was charged with lying regarded a telephone conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn knew such conversations are routinely recorded by NSA, and that the FBI had almost certainly listened to the recording. You have to believe Lt. General Flynn to be extraordinarily stupid to believe that he lied about it.
The FBI interviewers didn’t believe it, even though newly released emails show an internal FBI debate about the purpose of the ambush:
“The documents turned over by the Justice Department late Wednesday include handwritten notes in which FBI officials openly indicated that their “goal” was “to get him [Flynn] to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired””
That was the basis of the ‘crime.’
“Getting off scot-free” is another curiosity of Mr. Obama’s thinking. Flynn’s reputation was destroyed, he was psychologically tortured, he’s been financially wrecked, and his family has been threatened. The prosecutors covered that last extortion up in collusion with Flynn’s first set of lawyers. An agreement not to prosecute his son was illegally excluded from the description of the plea deal supplied to the court. “[T]he government [is required] to disclose to the defense any promises made or benefits given in exchange for the testimony of a witness called by the prosecution.”
Not satisfied with misstating the crime, insulting due process, excusing prosecutorial misconduct and FBI framing, and minimizing the burden imposed on General Flynn, our former organizer-in-chief went on to lament, “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.”
Well, yes, but not in the way he thinks.
More to come, I think, since we also just found out Mr. Obama was aware of this charade at the time.
Flynn’s current lawyer, Sidney Powell, is another Dagny Taggart Award nominee.
Update, May 11, 1:20PM:
…and, while we’re at it:
Attorney General Barr’s Office Shreds NBC’s Chuck Todd For ‘Deceptive Editing’ Of Barr’s Comments Add a little collusion from the Maim Scream Media™.
Note, too, that the soon-to-be-infamous January 5th Oval Office meeting where Obama surprised Sally Yates with his knowledge of the Kislyak phone call preceded the bushwacking meeting (Jan 24th) with General Flynn by several weeks. Obama had been briefed on the call by James Clapper (according to Comey, during Congressional testimony), but Yates, at the DOJ, had not been briefed.
Also attending that meeting were James Comey, Joe Biden, John Brennan, James Clapper, and Susan Rice. Rice was later to write a CYA email to herself:
“President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia,”
The very next day, Comey briefed incoming President Donald Trump on the Steele dossier, i.e., Russian disinformation paid for by the Clinton campaign, and already used to obtain a FISA warrant against Carter Page. Comey only discussed the salacious parts of the dossier, and neglected to tell Trump about the Kislyak phone call and Flynn. Comey lied by omission.