Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley is an American attorney, writer, commentator, and legal analyst. He appears in broadcast and print journalism. Jonathan Turley is a professor at the George Washington University Law School and has testified in Congressional proceedings about constitutional and statutory issues.
He’s not a legal lightweight. Turley is a self-avowed liberal.
The Obama position
Turley chose to respond to former President Barack Obama on Saturday. Obama in a public appearance made the assertion the “rule of law is at risk.” The assertion was a call to arms in a public appearance. It comes after the Department of Justice made a motion to withdraw all charges against General Michael Flynn.
Obama said on Friday, as per Yahoo News reporting: “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, Obama’s comments reveal the level of his personal investment in the Flynn case.
The Turley response
Turley says, “It is a curious statement. First and foremost, Flynn was not charged with perjury… 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… Third, this reaffirms reports that Obama was personally invested in this effort.”
Here is a link to Professor Turley’s Twitter feed.
According to Turley, there is precedent for the Justice Department’s decision. Obama should look no further than his own attorney general, Eric Holder. Turley writes:
“Finally, there is precedent… 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… 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…”
Does the Flynn dismissal put the rule of law at risk? Whatever it does, the spotlight is on the FBI, the DoJ and the federal judiciary. Reading differing takes on the action in the federal court should give us better perspective for decision making. Which side are you on?Motion to Dismiss