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.
“There is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free,” Mr. Obama said in the Friday call to about 3,000 members of the Obama Alumni Association. The comments were leaked to Yahoo News and confirmed by Mr. Obama’s spokeswoman to the Washington Post and other outlets. Mr. Obama added: “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.”
Even discounting for Mr. Obama’s partisan audience, this gets the case willfully wrong. Mr. Flynn was never charged with perjury, which is lying under oath in a legal proceeding. Mr. Flynn pleaded guilty to a single count of lying to the FBI in a meeting at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017 that he was led to believe was a friendly chat among colleagues.
As for “scot-free,” that better applies to former President Bill Clinton who lied under oath in a civil case and was impeached for perjury but was acquitted by the Senate. We understand why Mr. Obama wouldn’t bring that up.