Several of Trump’s allies celebrated the news of Flynn’s grace.
White House Chief of Staff Trump Mark Meadows congratulated Flynn and called it “a day deserving of American patriots.” Kevin McCarthy, the House’s minority leader, said the president was “right for the esteemed three-star general. And Ohio Republican MP Jim Jordan simply tweeted,” God bless Michael Flynn! ”
Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, meanwhile said in a statement that the president “abused the power of grace to reward Michael Flynn, who chose allegiance to Trump over allegiance to his country.”
“There is no doubt that the president has broad powers to grant pardons, but when they are used to isolate himself, his family and comrades from criminal investigation, it is corruption of Framer’s intent,” the California Democrat said. “It’s no surprise that Trump is leaving just as he came in – the end of the curve.”
While the president continues to falsely claim publicly that he won the presidential election in place of Joe Biden, Flynn’s grace is a sign that Trump understands that his time in office is approaching. Several sources familiar with the discussion said he is expected to issue additional graces before leaving the White House.
Flynn’s term in the White House lasted only a few weeks and he resigned after being lied to for his Russian ties. At the time, Trump tweeted that he fired Flynn for lying to Vice President Mike Pence. Sources familiar with what happened also said Flynn lied to Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer, two of Trump’s top officials at the time.
Flynn pleaded guilty in late 2017 to lying to the FBI about these connections, but later denied his request and tried to drop the case. The Ministry of Justice abandoned the case in a shocking turn this spring, which is still in a legal situation.
It also became a symbol of Trump’s persistent efforts to undermine the Russian investigation and a channel for testing the separation of powers between judges and prosecutors.
The Justice Department said Flynn should never have been interrogated by the FBI in January 2017 and put him in a situation where he lied.
In September, Flynn and the Department of Justice returned to court for the first time in months, arguing that his case should be dismissed. However, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan made it clear earlier that he might consider sentencing Flynn for a lie.
At the last big trial, where Flynn appeared before Sullivan, at the end of 2018, the judge was so enraged at Flynn’s crimes and legal approach that he questioned whether the former national security adviser could be accused of treason. Prosecutors said no.
This story will break and we will update.
CNN’s Maegan Vazquez, Pamela Brown, Jim Acosta and Paul LeBlanc contributed to the report.