Former White House official Robert Reich is slamming the Department of Justice’s decision to drop the case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, calling it an abuse of power and warning that it could lead to a dictatorship.
On Thursday, reports indicated that the Justice Department was dropping the criminal case against Flynn, abandoning the prosecution that had drawn plenty of public criticism from President Donald Trump. As The Associated Press reported, the reversal ends what was one of the signature cases from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election.
The decision came under fire from many, including former White House official Robert Reich, who served in a number of different administrations including as labor secretary for Bill Clinton.
Reich, a frequent critic of the Trump administration, quoted a tweet breaking the news about the Justice Department’s decision and warned that the decision to drop a case that the president very publicly opposed was a troubling sign.
“Friends, I cannot overstate how dangerous this is,” Reich tweeted. “Under William Barr’s stewardship, the Justice Department has become nothing more than a political tool for Trump to wield against his enemies and withdraw against his friends. This is how dictatorships are built.”
Reich added that Flynn’s alleged crimes were deserving of jail time.
“So let me get this straight: Michael Flynn is getting zero jail time for lying to the FBI, undermining prosecutors, and betraying the country — while countless Americans are dying of coronavirus in prison because they were jailed on technicalities or parole violations,” Reich wrote on Twitter.
Others criticized the move, believing it eroded the separation that is supposed to exist between the Justice Department and the White House. Attorney General William Barr has also been criticized for decisions that critics believe are taken at the direction of Trump himself.
Many believed that Trump was headed toward a pardon of Flynn, as the president frequently spoke out on Twitter about what he believed was an unfair prosecution. Trump has repeatedly called the Russia investigation a politically motivated witch hunt against him.
Trump had spoken openly about the idea of pardoning the former national security adviser, saying back in March that he was thinking about it. In a tweet shared on March 15, Trump said that the FBI “lost” records on Flynn after “destroying his life & the life of his wonderful family.” Trump did not take an official steps toward the pardon.