President Trump on Wednesday has granted a “full pardon” to his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, a decorated former US combat commander, who is finally getting the justice long deserved.
“It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon,” Trump tweeted. “Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!”
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
The White House shortly after sent out a formal statement, explaining the president’s reasoning to pardon Flynn, saying he “should never have been prosecuted” and the pardon “achieves that objective” that “finally bringing to an end the relentless, partisan pursuit of an innocent man.”
“The prosecution of General Flynn is yet another reminder of something that has long been clear: After the 2016 election, individuals within the outgoing administration refused to accept the choice the American people had made at the ballot box and worked to undermine the peaceful transition of power,” the statement reads. “These efforts were enabled by a complicit media that willingly published falsehoods and hid inconvenient facts from public view, including with respect to General Flynn. They amounted to a brazen assault on our democracy and a direct attack on our fundamental political values.”
“Happy Thanksgiving to General Flynn and his family, and thank you all for your great service to our Nation!” the statement concludes.
A DOJ official said the pardon is “obviously an appropriate use of the president’s pardon power.”
Trump has made it no secret over the last several months that he was strongly considering granting the clemency to the highly decorated three-star Army Lieutenant General, even recently saying in an interview that he would welcome Flynn back to the White House.
“I think he’s a great gentleman,” the president told CBS News in July when he was asked if he would take Flynn back at the White House in an exclusive interview. “He’s a great — he’s been in the military for many, many decades, actually. Highly respected. What General Flynn went through is so unfair. He’s gone through hell. He’s been destroyed, but he’ll make a comeback.”
Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to the FBI regarding his contact with the Russian ambassador in December 2017. The former national security adviser as part of his guilty plea agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation of a possible Trump-Russia collusion. After a year, the Russian Probe would also produced no evidences of a conspiracy collision involving Trump. Since his guilty plea, Flynn for over a year has awaited his sentencing ruling, citing misconduct from the FBI and prosecutors who coerced his initial plea just to pursue a case against Trump.
Earlier this year, Attorney General Bill Barr appointed a Missouri-based U.S. attorney to review Flynn’s case. After a five-months removed urged the Justice Department to drop its prosecution of Flynn, citing records withheld from Flynn’s defense team and saying Flynn’s 2016 conversations with the Russian ambassador were not “material” to any legitimate counterintelligence investigation.
The pardon officially ends the dramatic back and saw Flynn and now voids any impending sentencing from the federal D.C. judge who has long refused to dismiss Flynn’s case. Preceding over Flynn’s guilty plea trial, Sullivan scrutinized the retired Army General military service as well as his withdrawal claims and the DOJ as the basis for the department’s request and appointed a former Brooklyn federal Judge John Gleeson to offer advice as a “friend of the court.” In his filing arguing against the Justice Department’s position said the case should not be dismissed and called the government’s motion to dismiss “plainly a corrupt political errand for the President.”
During a hearing back in September, Flynn lawyer Sidney Powell informed the “hostile” Sullivan that she had discussed the ongoing case with the president, but told Trump not to pardon Flynn because she wanted him to be vindicated in the courts.
The conversation alarmed the FBI, who at the same time was investigating the Trump campaign, and Russia coordinated to interfere with the election’s outcome. Protocols were broken when FBI agent Peter Strzok. and FBI Director James Comey interviewed Flynn without permission from Justice Department leaders or notice to the White House counsel.
However, it was later uncovered from a tranche of court documents released after the DOJ dropped the case that the “7th floor involved” (FBI heads) was prepared to close an investigation into whether Flynn was a Russian agent before Trump took office in January 2017, but Strzok and his lover Lisa Page conspired to keep the case ongoing.
Months later, Flynn pleaded guilty to “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the feds on Jan. 24 about his phone calls with Kislyak and was charged
“On or about January 24, 2017, defendant Michael T. Flynn did willfully and knowingly make materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and representations,” over a government matter, according to the two-page charge sheet.
The news of Trump’s pardoning a longtime loyal friend of Flynn drew immediate angrily ridicule from House Democrats.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) even the move from Trump “crooked to the end.”
“Donald Trump has abused the pardon power to reward his friends and political allies and protect those who lie to cover up for him,” Schiff who chairs of the House Intelligence Committee tweeted. “This time, Trump has once again abused the pardon power to reward Michael Flynn, who chose loyalty to Trump over loyalty to his country. It’s no surprise that Trump would go out just as he came in — crooked to the end.”
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) echoed Schiff’s remarks, describing the pardon as “undeserved, unprincipled, and one more stain on President Trump’s rapidly diminishing legacy.”
“This pardon is undeserved, unprincipled, and one more stain on President Trump’s rapidly diminishing legacy,” the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said in a statement. “This pardon is part of a pattern. We saw it before, in the Roger Stone case — where President Trump granted clemency to protect an individual who might have implicated the President in criminal misconduct. We may see it again before President Trump finally leaves office. These actions are an abuse of power and fundamentally undermine the rule of law.”
Lying to the FBI is a crime but isn’t always prosecuted. In what Flynn defenders see as a double standard, prosecutors recently decided not to prosecute McCabe, who was fired after an inspector general report identified multiple alleged lies to FBI officials about his role authorizing a leak to the media.