Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) criticized former President Barack Obama after news outlets obtained a tape of a web talk between the former president and members of the Obama Alumni Association in which he said the “rule of law is at risk” in the United States after it emerged the Justice Department dismissed the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“I think President Obama should have kept his mouth shut,” McConnell said in an interview with Trump 2020 senior adviser Lara Trump on an episode of Team Trump Online! “You know, we know he doesn’t like much (what this) administration is doing, that’s understandable. But I think it’s a little bit classless, frankly, to critique an administration that comes after you. You had your shot, you were there for eight years.”
“Generally former presidents just don’t do that,” he added, pointing to the tradition started by the Bush administration to not criticize presidential successors.
“The news over the last 24 hours I think has been somewhat downplayed – about the justice department dropping charges against Michael Flynn,” Obama reportedly said on the recording.
“And the fact that there is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury [in fact Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI] 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,” he continued. “And when you start moving in those directions, it can accelerate pretty quickly as we’ve seen in other places.”
The former president’s comments prompted President Donald Trump to launch into an “Obamagate” conspiracy theory.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2020
He got caught, OBAMAGATE! https://t.co/oV6fum0zIS
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 11, 2020
Trump peddled conspiracy theories about the role Obama played during the Russia investigation for the rest of the night of May 10.
He was criticized last week for retweeting a conspiracy theory suggesting that Obama “was the one running the Russian hoax.”
“What they did, what the Obama administration did, is unprecedented … and I hope a lot of people will pay a big price because they are dishonest, crooked people. They are scum, human scum,” Trump said earlier this week. “[Flynn] was targeted by the Obama administration, and he was targeted in order to try to take down a president.”
Flynn resigned from the White House in disgrace after he provided false information about his communications with the Russian government, particularly after the news of his conversations with Sergey Kislyak, then the Russian ambassador to the United States, became public. He later pleaded guilty to a felony count of “willfully and knowingly” making false statements to the FBI.