Former president Barack Obama claimed in a private phone call last week that the “rule of law is at risk” following the Justice Department’s decision to drop the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Yahoo News reported on Friday.
“The news over the last 24 hours I think has been somewhat downplayed — about the Justice Department dropping charges against Michael Flynn,” Obama told members of the Obama Alumni Association during the call, a tape of which was obtained by Yahoo.
“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,” Obama continued. “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.”
Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI, not perjury. However, on Thursday the Justice Department moved to end the case against Flynn, who had in January rescinded his earlier guilty plea.
Attorney General William Barr on Friday said he had concluded that the FBI set a “perjury trap” for Flynn while investigating him for suspected ties to Russia.
“They didn’t warn him, the way that would usually be required by the Department, they bypassed the Justice Department, they bypassed the protocols at the White House, and so forth,” Barr told CBS. “These were things that persuaded me that there was not a legitimate counterintelligence investigation.”