While Democrats are demanding the impeachment of the current president, how about prosecuting the last one?
With the newfound concern for presidential law-breaking — and as the impeachment trial of President Trump gears up a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), saying President Trump broke the law by withholding aid to Ukraine — the precedent for effectively prosecuting alleged presidential lawbreaking has now been set.
Which brings the focus to a prosecution of former President Barack Obama.
Over there at National Review, way back in August of 2016, Andrew McCarthy — Andy a former federal prosecutor — headlined this:
President Obama Violated the Law with His Ransom Payment to Iran
After acknowledging the outrage over the cash payment and the charges that Obama paid a ransom for hostages, former prosecutor McCarthy said this of the now-infamous Obama transfer of a cash payment to the Iranian mullahs:
It is a waste of time to debate that point further.…
More worth examining is why the transaction took the bizarre form that it did. To cut to the chase, I believe it was to camouflage — unsuccessfully — the commission of felony law violations.…
Obama had our financial system issue U.S. assets that were then converted to foreign currencies for delivery to Iran. Both steps flouted the (federal) regulations, which prohibit the clearing of currency of any kind if Iran is even minimally involved in the deal; here, Iran is the beneficiary of the deal.
The regs further prohibit supplying things of value to Iran, regardless of whether it is done “directly or indirectly.” Expressly included in the “indirect” category are transfers of assets to another country with knowledge that the other country will then forward the assets, in some form, to Iran. That’s exactly what happened here, with Obama pressing the Swiss and Dutch into service as intermediaries.
Although these regulations leave no room for doubt that their point is to prevent and criminalize things like sending $400 million in cash to the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism, the ITSR adds another reg for good measure. Section 560.203 states:
[“]Evasions; attempts; causing violations; conspiracies:… Any transaction … that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this part is prohibited.… Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this part is prohibited.[”] …
Oh, and there is also Section 560.701, which makes clear that willful violations of the regulations constitute serious felony offenses under federal criminal law — punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment.…
The circumstances of Obama’s enormous cash transfer to our terrorist enemies raise serious questions about whether American policy against paying ransoms to terrorists has been flouted. But that should not obscure a more fundamental issue: The president has violated the law.
In short, McCarthy lays out in detail just how — specifically — then–President Obama deliberately violated federal law by making that cash payment to the Iranian mullahs. As he also noted, the willful violation of that law is “punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment.”
Americans are being told by Democrats that President Trump must be impeached because he broke the law. Here are but two of many samples of their views on Trump’s alleged presidential law-breaking:
Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the GAO allegation President Trump broke the law: “The president not only undermined our diplomatic relationships for his own personal, political gain — he also broke the law. He must be held accountable or he will continue breaking the law and putting the country at risk.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the Trump/Ukraine phone call: “The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law.”
So the obvious question ensues. If it’s OK to insist that President Trump “broke the law” (Warren) and “must be held accountable” (Pelosi) — then isn’t it time for the Department of Justice to prosecute former President Obama on exactly those grounds?
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