President Donald Trump pardoned former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Wednesday, taking direct aim at the Russian collusion investigation that he has long insisted was motivated by political bias.
“It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon,” Trump tweeted.
It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon. Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 25, 2020
Flynn is the second Trump associate convicted in the Russia probe to be granted clemency by the president. Trump commuted the sentence of longtime confidant Roger Stone just days before he was to report to prison.
The action voids the criminal case against the retired Army lieutenant general just as a federal judge was weighing whether to grant a Justice Department request to dismiss the prosecution despite Flynn’s guilty plea to lying to the FBI about his Russia contacts.
House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler said the pardon was undeserved and unprincipled.
“The President’s enablers have constructed an elaborate narrative in which Trump and Flynn are victims and the Constitution is subject to the whims of the president,” the Democratic congressman said in a statement. “Americans soundly rejected this nonsense when they voted out President Trump. ”
The pardon is the final step in a case defined by twists and turns over the last year after the Justice Department moved to dismiss the case, insisting that Flynn should have never been interviewed by the FBI in the first place, only to have U.S. District Justice Emmet Sullivan refuse the request and appoint a former judge to argue against the federal government’s position.
In the months since, a three-judge panel’s decision ordering Sullivan to dismiss the case was overturned by the full appeals court, which sent the matter back to Sullivan.
At a hearing in September, Flynn lawyer Sidney Powell told the judge that she had discussed the Flynn case with Trump but also said she did not want a pardon — presumably because she wanted him to be vindicated in the courts.
The pardon spares Flynn the possibility of any prison sentence, which Sullivan could potentially have imposed had he ultimately decided to reject the Justice Department’s dismissal request.
Flynn acknowledged lying during the FBI interview by saying he had not discussed with then-Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, sanctions that had just been imposed on Russia for election interference by the outgoing Obama administration.
Last May, the Justice Department said the FBI had no basis to interview Flynn about Kislyak and that any statements he may have made were not relevant to the FBI’s broader counterintelligence probe.
It cited internal FBI notes showing that agents had planned to close out their investigation into Flynn weeks earlier.
Flynn was ousted from his position in February 2017 after news broke that he had indeed discussed sanctions with Kislyak and that former Obama administration officials had warned the White House that he could be vulnerable to blackmail.
Flynn, of Middletown, Rhode Island, was among the first of the president’s aides to admit guilt in Mueller’s investigation and cooperated extensively for months.
Prosecutors did not recommend any prison time and suggested that they would be fine with probation.
But on the morning he was to have been sentenced, Flynn asked for the hearing to be cut short so that he could continue cooperating and earn credit toward a more lenient sentence.
After that, though, he hired new attorneys — including Powell, an outspoken critic of Mueller’s investigation — who took a far more aggressive stance.
The lawyers accused prosecutors of withholding documents and evidence they said was favorable to the case and repeatedly noted that one of the two agents who interviewed Flynn was fired from the FBI for having sent derogatory text messages about Trump during the 2016 campaign.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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