- The Washington Times - Monday, May 11, 2020

Former President Barack Obama said he couldn’t think of a case where someone got off “scot-free” for lying to the FBI.

He pardoned just such a man.

Retired Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright pleaded guilty in late 2016 to lying to the agency about his discussions with reporters about Iran’s nuclear program, specifically whether he had leaked classified information about a joint U.S.-Israel operation against it.

According to a “flashback” post noted by PJ Media on Monday and linking to a contemporaneous New York Times report, Mr. Obama pardoned Gen. Cartwright in the waning days of his presidency less than a month before his scheduled sentencing.

The Times reported in 2017 that Gen. Cartwright, a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had “earned a reputation as the president’s favorite general” and was represented by longtime Democratic insider-lawyer Greg Craig.

Mr. Obama, however, had claimed in a phone conversation with former members of his administration last week that the Justice Department’s decision to drop charges against Gen. Michael Flynn was illegitimate and unprecedented.

“The news over the last 24 hours I think has been somewhat downplayed — about the Justice Department dropping charges against Michael Flynn,” Mr. Obama said in the leaked conversation.

“There is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free,” he 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 lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak when the general was incoming national security adviser. The Justice Department dropped the case last week after withdrawing his plea, charging government misconduct, a judgment with which Attorney General William P. Barr concurred in explaining his decision to drop all charges.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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