Michael Flynn granted full pardon by Donald Trump


President Trump on Wednesday pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in a case brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.

“It is my great honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a full pardon,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!”

Mr. Trump‘s pardon of Flynn comes after rampant speculation that he would do so before leaving office in January. More pardons are expected to be issued in the waning days of his administration.

While Mr. Trump had always been mum about whether he would pardon Flynn, he frequently expressed support for him. In July, the president said he would welcome Flynn back to the White House.

Flynn‘s attorney, Sidney Powell, said in September that she had discussed the case with Mr. Trump, but claimed she urged the president not to issue a pardon. But other Flynn supporters have long advocated for one.

The pardon ends three years of legal back-and-forth as his case moved through the court system.

In 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. in the days before the Trump administration took over.

Flynn recanted in January, professing his innocence after changing attorneys. He had dropped his high-powered D.C. law firm for Ms. Powell, a conservative firebrand known for criticizing the Mueller probe on cable talk shows.

The Justice Department touched off a political firestorm in May, when it reversed course and asked a federal judge to dismiss the charges against Flynn.

The stunning reversal prompted some of the prosecutors working the case to resign from it in protest.

Yet, the top brass at the Justice Department pushed forward with their goal of abandoning their three-year prosecution of Flynn.

Department lawyers said in court filings that Flynn‘s lies to the FBI agents were not “material” to the bureau’s probe into whether Russian agents colluded with the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 election.

They also argued that the FBI should not have interviewed Flynn in the first place. The FBI was set to close its investigation into Flynn just weeks before the infamous White House interview because it had not uncovered any wrongdoing.

However, the FBI’s top officials pushed to keep it open, according to Justice Department documents uncovered this year.

The judge overseeing Flynn‘s case resisted the Justice Department’s calls to immediately dismiss the case. Instead, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan appointed a retired federal judge to argue against the Justice Department and weigh whether Flynn should be slapped with a perjury charge.

A federal appeals court panel initially held that Judge Sullivan had overstepped his authority by refusing to dismiss the case. But the full court reversed that ruling, returning the case to Judge Sullivan.

Flynn‘s legal case had stalled with no action on it in over a month.

The pardon is sure to rankle the president’s critics, who have accused him and Attorney General William P. Barr of using the Justice Department for personal gain.

A frequent Trump foe, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, blasted a possible Flynn pardon Wednesday morning before the move was announced.

“It just, frankly, reflects so ill on our democracy, on the United States,” the California Democrat said on CNN. “Imagine what people around the world think when we have a president that’s acting like an organized crime figure.”

Flynn is the latest close associate to have the president pardon them or commute their sentence.

He commuted the sentences of longtime GOP political adviser Roger Stone and former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat who appeared on Mr. Trump‘s reality-TV show.

Mr. Trump has also pardoned former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik and financier Michael Milken.

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