20:17 GMT20 October 2020
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    The 58-year-old former president, who is widely regarded as the most influential figure in the Democratic Party, also criticised the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, reportedly calling it “an absolute disaster”.

    Former US President Barack Obama reportedly said that the "rule of law is at risk" in the United States following the decision of the Justice Department to drop the criminal case against Trump's former National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn, Yahoo News reported, citing a recording it obtained. According to the outlet, the former president made the statement during a web talk with members of the Obama Alumni Association. Obama called the DOJ’s decision unprecedented.

    "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", said the former president.

    According to Yahoo News, Obama also said that the DOJ’s decision made him feel a "sense of urgency" about the 2020 presidential election, in which Obama’s Vice President Joe Biden is expected to face Donald Trump. The 58-year-old reportedly called on members of the Obama Alumni Association to help Biden win.

    "Whenever I campaign, I’ve always said, 'Ah, this is the most important election'. Especially obviously when I was on the ballot, that always feels like it's the most important election. This one — I’m not on the ballot — but I am pretty darn invested. We got to make this happen'", the former president said.

    Obama’s remark about perjury is not entirely correct, however. General Michael Flynn was charged with giving false statements to the FBI about conversations with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergei Kislyak. He pleaded guilty to the charge, but later withdrew his plea and claimed that the FBI officials had tricked him into lying. The Department of Justice decided to drop the case against the former national security adviser citing newly discovered information and the fact that the FBI had conducted the inquiry "without any legitimate investigative basis".

    The probe into General Flynn was part of a larger investigation into allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential race. The special counsel investigation conducted by Robert Mueller concluded that there was no criminal conspiracy. President Trump repeatedly blamed Obama and the Democrats for the Russia investigation, which he called a "witch hunt".

    Russia probe, Department of Justice, Michael Flynn, Joe Biden, Barack Obama
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