Oh, the irony
Last Friday, former President Barack Obama complained that the “unprecedented” decision by the Department of Justice to drop charges against retired Gen. Michael Flynn put “the rule of law at risk” — only he must have forgotten about an eerily similar move he made at the end of his second term.
Obama blasted the move in a leaked phone conversation with former administration officials, arguing that “there is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free” in reference to Flynn’s updated situation.
But in 2017, the former president pardoned retired Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, who, like Flynn, had pleaded guilty to charges that he lied to FBI agents.
What are the details?
According to the New York Times, Cartwright, who served as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Obama’s first term, was the president’s “favorite general” and a “key member of [his] national security team.”
Cartwright had been accused of leaking classified information about Iran’s nuclear weapons program and then lying to federal investigators who were looking into it.
Here’s more from the Times:
General Cartwright left government in 2011. The leak investigation that ensnared him began in June 2012, when David E. Sanger, a reporter for The New York Times, published a book, “Confront and Conceal,” and an article in The Times that described Operation Olympic Games, an American-Israeli covert effort to sabotage Iranian nuclear centrifuges with a computer virus. F.B.I. agents came to believe that General Cartwright had also been a source for a February 2012 Newsweek article that discussed cyberattacks against Iran.
But when F.B.I. agents interviewed the retired general about the book and articles, he initially lied about his discussions with the journalists, according to a government sentencing memo.
The memo said the agents showed the general emails that contradicted his account, and he passed out and was hospitalized. Several days later, when the interview resumed, he changed his account of the discussions.
Cartwright eventually agreed to a plea deal in which he admitted to misleading FBI agents but not to the unauthorized disclosure of information. His legal team was requesting one year of probation and 600 hours of community service while prosecutors were seeking a two-year prison sentence.
Of course, he was spared any such punishment due to his pardon.
What’s the background?
Flynn, President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI but later attempted to withdraw the plea after being made aware of previously withheld evidence. Lawyers for the retired general argued that he had been “deliberately set up and framed by corrupt agents at the top of the FBI” in what amounted to a perjury trap.
Yet despite that, Obama suggested that the dropped charges amount to “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.”
“When you start moving in those directions, it can accelerate pretty quickly as we’ve seen in other places,” he added.
One last thing: Adding fuel to the fire, Flynn’s lead attorney, Sidney Powell, made the stunning accusation Sunday that Obama himself was involved in the plot to frame her client.
(H/T: PJ Media)
Author: Phil Shiver