Amazing! Someone Actually Fact-Checked Barack Obama! Not So Amazingly, He Was Again Using His Position To Mislead And Divide

Also not so amazingly, the fact-checker was Prof. Jonathan Turley, a rare academic and legal professional who has the integrity to go where the facts take him, not his colleagues’ partisan agendas. Unfortunately, his refusal to join the “resistance” has resulted in his being vilified, as well as exiled to Fox News if he wants to be heard.

Barack Obama was heard on a private call to say that the “rule of law is at risk” after the Justice Department moved to dismiss the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn. As with so many other narratives the Left has pushed in the past three years, this one is exactly the opposite of reality. Recently declassified documents show that the Obama FBI and Justice Department engaged in illegal  investigative and prosecutorial misconduct, targeting Flynn and framing him as part of their efforts to bring down President Trump. They also suggest that President Obama was aware of the operation. Such abuses for political gain pose the real threat to the rule of law.

Obama is reported to have said that “There is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free.”

Here’s Turley, who, nice guy that he is, can still barely disguise his contempt:

Without doubting the exhaustive search referenced by President Obama, he might have tried calling one “alum”: former Attorney General Eric Holder.  Holder moved to dismiss such a case based on prosecutorial errors in front of the very same judge, Judge Emmet Sullivan. [Notably, CNN covered the statements this morning without noting the clearly false claim over the lack of any precedent for the Flynn motion]

First, the exhaustive search may have been hampered by the fact that Flynn was never charged with perjury. He was charged with a single count of false statements to a federal investigator under 18 U.S.C. 1001. I have previously written  that the Justice Department should move to dismiss the case due to recently disclosed evidence and thus I was supportive of the decision of Attorney General Bill Barr. Second, there is ample precedent for this motion even though…such dismissals are rare.  There is a specific rule created for this purpose.  Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 48(a) states the government may dismiss an indictment, information or complaint “with leave of the court.” Moreover, such dismissals are tied to other rules mandating such action when there is evidence of prosecutorial misconduct or fundamental questions about the underlying case from the view of the prosecutors…. Third, there is also case law….

…which Turley goes on to cite. Because Obama is a lawyer and presumed to be brilliant, so those who are not lawyers (and are far from brilliant ) assume he knows what he is talking about when he makes sweeping statements about the law. More often than not, he is just bloviating and faking it,  as in this case.

Turley then moves in for the metaphorical kill:

Fourth, there are cases where the Department has moved to dismiss cases on grounds of prosecutorial misconduct or other grounds touching on due process, ethical requirements or other concerns. One that comes to mind is United States v. Stevens where President Obama’s own Attorney General, Eric Holder, asked the same judge in the Flynn case to dismiss that case. That was just roughly ten years ago. As with Flynn, there was an allegation of withheld evidence by prosecutors.

At the time of the motion Holder declaredThe Department of Justice must always ensure that any case in which it is involved is handled fairly and consistent with its commitment to justice. Under oftentimes trying conditions, the attorneys who serve in this Department live up to those principles on a daily basis.”  What is obvious is the new guidelines issued at the time were honored in the breach during the Flynn prosecution.

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.

The rare statement by President Obama is also interesting in light of the new evidence. As I discussed in a column …in the Hill newspaper, the new material shows that Obama was following the investigation of Flynn who he previously dismissed from a high-level position and personally intervened with President Donald Trump to seek to block his appointment as National Security Adviser. Obama reportedly discussed the use of the Logan Act against Flynn. For a person concerned with precedent, that was also a curious focus.  The Logan Act is widely viewed as unconstitutional and has never been used to successfully convicted a single person since the early days of the Republic.  Now that is dubious precedent.

Let me briefly translate Turley’s coy academic-speak, to which he is addicted:

  • Obama is claiming a result is “unprecedented” that has an immediate precedent in his own administration, under his own Attorney General, and before the same judge.
  • By “honored in the breach”‘ Turley means “defied.” I hate that arcahic euphemism. Breaching a rule or law isn’t honoring it.
  • By “interesting” and “curious” Turley means “suspicious.”
  • By “Now that is dubious precedent” he means “Now that is dubious precedent,” because Obama supported the unprecedented use of an unconstitutional dead letter law…a genuine threat to the rule of law.

Turley means, in short, that Barack Obama is again completely wrong, and probably lying.


16 thoughts on “Amazing! Someone Actually Fact-Checked Barack Obama! Not So Amazingly, He Was Again Using His Position To Mislead And Divide

  1. I wish Obama had said that in a law school class Turley was running. That would have been worth the price of admission.

    • That presumes he went to class in law school. Take a look at his adjunct teaching and tell me what Obama actually knows about the law as opposed to subverting it. His classes were primarily about teaching bias. His statement saying Flynn perjured himself is a clear indication he knows precious little about the actual law. Time to start building a sedition case.

  2. Hubris is the downfall of many a tyrant.

    Obama believes he is untouchable. Up until now he has been. His greates fear is that he will become a has been or worse.

    Turley’s commentary may be the first leak in Obama’s protective barrier. As is the case with most leaks that are ignored the leak becomes a gusher. One can only hope.

    • He’s always held himself as purer than the driven snow. Whether he’s lying here or just dumb, he’s beginning to let the mask down and show himself as nothing more than a political hack. And not a very good one given his failure to get anything done on the legislative front other than that wildly successful and popular health insurance thingy.

    • Turley’s commentary may be the first leak in Obama’s protective barrier. As is the case with most leaks that are ignored the leak becomes a gusher. One can only hope.

      Nobody will read it, and his usual defenders will defend it. His barrier is safe. The Left thinks Turley is a right-wing traitor no matter what his self-professed ideology, so they will neither read nor believe his words.

      Somebody from Vox, Slate, Salon, the HuffPo, the Hill, Politico, the NYT and/or Wapo will debunk Turley and defend Obama. It’s as predictable as the sunrise.

      But I guess we have to be thankful for what we can get.

      • Yeah, just look at the dumpster fire of a comment section on that article. It is funny how people who are perfectly respectable suddenly become “trumptards” and “conspiracy theorists” when they have a different opinion from the propaganda of the MSM and establishment figures. Barr, Turley etc…

        • Turley really needs to moderate his comments. Of course, when you start tossing the idiots and the liars, you end up with a moderate and objective blog being dominated by conservatives.Althouse’s commenters are in start contrast to Turley’s

          • What a horrible commentary this observation is on the Left. It suggests that there are few (or even no) left-leaning people commenting on the site that are not idiots and liars.

            Tragically, I suspect you’re right.

        • I never read Turley’s comment section, it depresses me that so many people can be so self-deluded and intemperate. It makes me want to go check the locks on my doors and the sufficiency of my defenses.

  3. I knew there was a reason I called him the Divider-in-Chief, and got cursed out in FB messages by people I didn’t even know for doing it. Jerkass is as jerkass attracts.

  4. Jack,
    “Honored in the breach” is (almost) always used with a hint of irony, as in the case above. Even Hamlet did so facetiously. Why hate an expression that proves your point? Of course, breaking a law doesn’t “honor” it; it makes it a thing of mockery. Hence, an expression exists to mock the phenomenon.

    As a writer, you should know the frustration that comes from people presenting your words differently than you wrote them. How is your appended “glossary of terms” different? If he meant “suspicious” he would have said so. As an academic, he attempts to maintain (at least the appearance of) neutrality. Said another way, he gives his audience enough credit to not spell everything out; they get to make that last leap on their own. You once employed a similar tone on the (much missed) Ethics Scoreboard. “The Scoreboard does not believe that ..” etc.

    In other news, I hope this finds you well.

    • Because Neil, the average reader—indeed the above average reader—does not understand the phrase because it seems self-contradictory. Turley is one of the very few people with national recognition and credibility who is making an effort to inform the public. He’s not like me, completely irrelevant and tossing pebbles in the ocean. He has an obligation to be clear. Yes, it’s a Shakespeare quote. The people Obama is trying to con don’t know Shakespeare from Fred Allen. Turley needs to stop indulging himself.

      • Jack,

        Rumors of your irrelevance are highly exaggerated. Whether you are read by one person or one million, there is value in what you are doing. You gave challenged many to think – and act- on and about ethics. Many here have said you have influenced them. I am one of them.

        As for Turley, he does assume his audience understands a turn of phrase. I enjoy his writing style and his razor wit. We need more writers like him to rehabilitate discourse. Furthermore, Turley is holding Obama to account for his underwhelming incompetent leadership. Were it not for a fawning and fauning media which covered for him, we would have seen that Obama had no clothes.


  5. The WSJ editorial yesterday:

    Barack Obama on Michael Flynn:
    The lawyer President misstates the crime and the real threat to justice.

    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.

    We doubt Mr. Obama has even read Thursday’s Justice Department motion to drop the Flynn prosecution. If he does ever read it, he’ll find disconcerting facts that certainly do raise doubts about whether “our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk,” though not for the reasons he claims.

    Start with prosecutorial violation of the Brady rule, which Mr. Obama knows is a legal obligation that the prosecution must turn over potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense. Yet prosecutors led by special counsel Robert Mueller didn’t disclose that the interviewing FBI agents at the time didn’t think that Mr. Flynn had lied about a phone call with the Russian ambassador.

    Worst of all, as a legal matter, is that they never told Mr. Flynn that there was no investigative evidentiary basis to justify the interview. The FBI had already concluded there was no evidence that Mr. Flynn had colluded with Russia in the 2016 election and had moved to close the case. James Comey’s FBI cronies used the news of Mr. Flynn’s phone call with the Russian ambassador as an excuse to interview the then national security adviser and perhaps trap him into a lie.

    All of this was moved along politically by leaks to the media about Mr. Flynn’s phone call with the Russian. The U.S. eavesdrops on foreign officials as a routine, but names of innocent Americans on those calls are supposed to be shielded from review to protect their privacy. Yet senior Obama officials have had to acknowledge that they “unmasked” Mr. Flynn’s name and others in their last months in power. Then, what a surprise, news of Mr. Flynn’s call and its contents pop up in the Washington Post. Did someone say “institutional norms”?

    All of this raises questions about the role the Obama Justice Department and White House played in targeting Mr. Flynn. We already know the FBI had opened up a counterintelligence probe into Mr. Flynn and other Trump campaign officials, yet it had come up with no evidence of collusion.

    Donald Trump’s victory increased the chances that this unprecedented spying on a political opponent would be uncovered, which would have been politically embarrassing at the very least. Targeting Mr. Flynn—and flogging the discredited Steele dossier—kept the Russia collusion pot boiling and evolved into the two-year Mueller investigation that turned up no evidence of collusion.

    This among other things is what U.S. Attorney John Durham is investigating at the request of Attorney General William Barr. Maybe that’s why Mr. Obama is so eager to distort the truth of the Flynn prosecution

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