Obama’s carefully released phone call shows an ex-President returning to battle
On Friday, Obama arranged to have leaked a phone call in which he criticized the Justice Department’s decision to dismiss its case against Flynn. He also crudely criticized President Trump’s response to the Wuhan Virus. Several writers, most notably Jonathan Turley (a Democrat who’s getting red-pilled fast), caught Obama’s factual and legal errors. That’s not the worst thing about Obama’s leaked call, though. The worst thing is that he’s deliberately stirring up factionalism, something no previous president has ever done. To a history major, it’s the papacy’s Schism all over again.
In 1305, the French King, Philip IV, succeeded in getting a Frenchman, Clement V, elected as pope. Clement, who was unpopular in Rome, moved the papacy to Avignon in 1309. For the next 67 years, a series of French popes held court at Avignon.
In 1376, Pope Gregory XI returned to Rome. Unhappy Italian cities waged war against the new pope, who responded with ferocity. Eventually, there were two popes, one in Rome and one in Avignon, creating a period known as the Schism or Babylonian Exile, which lasted from 1378 to 1417. It was a nightmare for Catholic Europe because, in an era when the well-being of one's soul was of utmost importance, people did not know to which authority they should look.
Fast forward several hundred years, and we have Obama, a president who now stands exposed as having tried to take down his duly elected successor. His walled Kalorama house is the new Avignon. To strengthen his position, Obama, who has kept a low(ish) profile for the past three years, is aggressively reinserting himself into presidential politics. He’s not just touting Joe as a viable candidate; he’s tackling policy.
On Friday, Yahoo reported that it had gained access to a recording of Obama’s conversation with past-administration officials. (“Gained access to” means “deliberately leaked to a friendly media outlet.”) In it, Obama staked out a couple of highly political positions:
“The news over the last 24 hours I think has been somewhat downplayed — about the Justice Department dropping charges against Michael Flynn,” Obama said in a web talk with members of the Obama Alumni Association.
“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.”
“This election that’s coming up on every level is so important because what we’re going to be battling is not just a particular individual or a political party. What we’re fighting against is these long-term trends in which being selfish, being tribal, being divided, and seeing others as an enemy — that has become a stronger impulse in American life. And by the way, we’re seeing that internationally as well. It’s part of the reason why the response to this global crisis has been so anemic and spotty. It would have been bad even with the best of governments. It has been an absolute chaotic disaster when that mindset — of ‘what’s in it for me’ and ‘to heck with everybody else’ — when that mindset is operationalized in our government.
“That’s why, I, by the way, am going to be spending as much time as necessary and campaigning as hard as I can for Joe Biden,” he added.
Those statements weren’t for the “Obama Alumni Association.” They were for the American people.
Jonathan Turley, an honest Democrat who must be increasingly disillusioned with his party, tweeted that Obama’s statement was rife with errors:
President Obama is being quoted on Flynn, saying "There is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free." It is a curious statement. First and foremost, Flynn was not charged with perjury... https://t.co/fWlSFWkp8S— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) May 9, 2020
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. Finally, there is precedent...— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) May 9, 2020
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....— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) May 9, 2020
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?— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) May 9, 2020
While it’s true that both Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton broke with two hundred years of precedent by refusing to go away quietly after their presidencies ended, neither crudely and openly attacked subsequent Republican administrations. They advanced their own policies and enjoyed the media’s continuing adulation, but they weren’t trying to set up a separate, shadow presidency. Obama, however, has quietly been running the Democrat party from his home and now, with his sins being aired in public, he’s decided that he too must go public, knowing that his friends in the media will help him every step of the way.
Obama’s actions are a dangerous precedent in America, creating a whole new level of factionalism in an already divided nation. A resounding Trump victory in November will be an excellent way to nip this shadow president in the bud.