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Liberal law professor punches back at Obama for claiming Flynn dismissal puts 'the rule of law at risk'
Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images (left), Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images (right)

Liberal law professor punches back at Obama for claiming Flynn dismissal puts 'the rule of law at risk'

'How is that for precedent?'

Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley hit back at former President Barack Obama on Saturday over his assertion that the "rule of law is at risk" after the Department of Justice dropped all charges against Michael Flynn.

Obama said on Friday, Yahoo News reported:

The news over the last 24 hours I think has been somewhat downplayed — about the Justice Department dropping charges against Michael Flynn.

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.

According to Turley, a self-avowed liberal, Obama's comments reveal how personally invested he was in the Flynn case.

"It is a curious statement. First and foremost, Flynn was not charged with perjury," Turley began.

"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," he continued. "Third, this reaffirms reports that Obama was personally invested in this effort."

But, according to Turley, there is precedent for the Justice Department's sudden decision — and Obama should look no further than his own attorney general, Eric Holder.

"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," Turley explained. "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?"

"While people of good faith can certainly disagree on the wisdom or basis for the Flynn motion, it is simply untrue if President Obama is claiming that there is no precedent or legal authority for the motion," Turley wrote on his website.

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