The wheels of justice may turn slowly, as dictum claims, but those who ignore the relentless grind risk a painful surprise. That is the lesson for mischief-makers who engaged in a cloak-and-dagger plot to depose President Trump. More than 1,200 days have passed since Mr. Trump arrived in the White House — three times longer than it took to build the Empire State Building. It’s long enough for justice to run — or walk — its course.
The sudden upending of the case against former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has turned a trickle of facts into a flood. U.S. Attorney General William Barr last Friday atoned for the injustice his predecessors heaped upon the former decorated U.S. Army general by moving to drop charges that he lied to the FBI during the wide-ranging Trump-Russia collusion investigation. “The Government is not persuaded that the January 24, 2017 interview was conducted with a legitimate investigative basis and therefore does not believe that Mr. Flynn’s statements were material even if untrue,” read the court filing.
Presiding U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan has yet to rule on the motion, but the apparent redemption of a prominent victim of the collusion witch hunt coincided with the release of 6,000 pages of secret testimony gathered by Rep. Adam Schiff and his House Intelligence Committee. Surprisingly, the Schiff star chamber documents meant to validate charges that Team Trump had fallen under foreign influence bolstered the opposite conclusion: Witnesses, including former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, admitted they had no evidence to back their claims of a Trump conspiracy with Russia.
As the details of their plot to undo the 2016 presidential election fall under the spotlight, Obama administration alumni are scrambling to mount a rear-guard defense of their actions. Leading them from behind is Barack Obama himself. On Sunday, the former president held a private conference call with former aides in which he lashed out at the Flynn development: “There is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free,” Mr. Obama said in a leaked recording of the call. “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.”
Legions of Obama loyalists are rallying around their hero to salvage his sullied reputation, and theirs. Among them are nearly 2,000 former Justice Department employees who signed a letter published Monday calling on Mr. Barr to resign over his decision to end prosecution of Mr. Flynn. “If any of us, or anyone reading this statement who is not a friend of the President, were to lie to federal investigators in the course of a properly predicated counterintelligence investigation, and admit we did so under oath, we would be prosecuted for it,” the letter read. If any of them, in the course of their official duties, set a perjury trap like the one sprung on Mr. Flynn, it is they who should be prosecuted for it.
Meanwhile, news has surfaced that Mr. Obama displayed clear knowledge during a Jan. 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting of plans to surveil Mr. Flynn. It’s clear that the former president and his followers are just as desperate to create diversions to slow the uncovering of the unsuccessful coup as Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice was when she wrote a memo to herself as her last act in office. In it, she claimed that during that meeting, Mr. Obama “reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.” Some cunning operators plant evidence to incriminate; others to exonerate.
Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell has reportedly unmasked the Obama administration officials who unmasked, or revealed, Mr. Flynn’s identity in telephone contact with Russia’s ambassador. The list of culprits, which rests on Mr. Barr’s Justice Department desk, should be held up for public gaze so Americans can learn who turned the nation’s spy apparatus against a patriot in order to undermine an incoming president they despised.
For his part, Mr. Trump has watched the tables turn on the “Russiagate” conspirators and taken to labeling the scandal “Obamagate.” On Sunday he tweeted, “The biggest political crime in American history, by far!”
It is time to learn if the president’s hyperbole is nothing less than unvarnished history. Thus far, there is little reason to doubt that it is.