Trump pardons Flynn, even though he was guilty of prosecuting Russia

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump pardoned his former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, and ended years of indictment in Russia, during which Flynn pleaded guilty twice to lying to the FBI and then turned himself back, before the Department of Justice took action on his dismissal. business.

“It is a great honor for me to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has received full grace,” Trump tweeted. “Congratulations to @GenFlynn and her wonderful family, I know you will have a really fantastic Thanksgiving now!”

The pardon, which occurs during the declining weeks of Trump’s only cycle, is part of the president’s broader effort to withdraw the results of a Russian investigation that overshadowed his administration and prosecuted half a dozen of his comrades. It comes just a few months after the president changed the sentence of another co-worker, Roger Stone, days before he should have signed up to jail.

An official with the Ministry of Justice said the ministry had not been consulted on the pardon and learned of the plan on Wednesday. But the official, who spoke anonymously to discuss internal deliberations, noted that the president has legal authority over Flynn’s pardon.

The move is likely to excite supporters who have made Flynn public and gathered around the retired army lieutenant as they claim to have been the victim of an unfair prosecution, even though Flynn has twice pleaded guilty. Trump spoke warmly several times about Flynn, once praised by Robert Mueller’s prosecutors as a model collaborator in examining the relationship between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.

Democrats tortured grace, calling it unworthy and unprincipled.

Flynn’s grace is “serious corruption and a brazen abuse of power,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

“The presidential preparers have developed a complicated narrative in which Trump and Flynn are the victims and the constitution is under the whim of the president,” said Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. “The Americans firmly rejected this stupidity when President Trump was ousted. “

Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said the grace was no surprise, yet crooked.

“Flynn pleaded guilty to these lies twice.” Trump’s grace does not erase this truth, no matter how much Trump and his allies try to suggest otherwise, ”he said.

Grace is the last step in the case determined by the twists and turns. The most dramatic happened in May, when the Ministry of Justice abruptly set out to dismiss the case, insisting that Flynn should never have been interviewed by the FBI, only Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court opposed the request and appointed a former judge who disputed the federal government’s position and assessed that Flynn should be criminalized. whether to keep false testimony of contempt.

Former Judge John Gleeson said the Justice Department’s request for dismissal was an abuse of power and the reasons for dismissing the case are constantly evolving. and “clearly pretextual”.

Because Sullivan refused to dismiss the case immediately, Flynn’s lawyer, Sidney Powell, tried to get around the judge by asking a federal appellate court to dismiss the case. A panel of three judges did exactly that, but the entire court overturned that decision and referred the case back to Sullivan.

At the September trial, Powell told the judge that he had discussed the Flynn case with Trump, but also said he did not want pardon – presumably because he wanted to be acquitted in court.

Powell has emerged in recent weeks as a public face as the public face of Trump’s efforts to overthrow his lost gains against President-elect Joe Biden, but Trump’s legal team eventually distanced himself from him after filing a series of unfounded conspiracy claims.

The pardon spares Flynn from the possibility of any prison sentence that Sullivan might have imposed if he had finally decided to reject the Justice Department’s request for acquittal. This request was made after the case was investigated by a St. Louis federal prosecutor specifically appointed by Attorney General William Barr.

The subject of the case was Flynn’s FBI interview, which took place in January 2017, after Trump’s inauguration.

Flynn acknowledged the lie in the interview by failing to discuss with Russia’s then-ambassador, Sergei Kislyak, the sanctions he had just imposed on Russia over the election intervention of the outgoing Obama administration. During the conversation, Flynn called on Kislyak to make Russia “even” in response to punitive measures and assured him that we could “have a better conversation” about relations between the two countries after Trump became president.

The conversation alerted the FBI, which at the time was investigating whether the Trump campaign and Russia had coordinated to shake the election result. In addition, White House officials have publicly stated that Flynn and Kislyak did not discuss sanctions that the FBI knew were untrue.

However, last May, the Ministry of Justice abruptly changed its position on the matter.

He argued that the FBI had no basis for questioning Flynn about Kislyak that any statements he made were not relevant to the FBI’s broader counter-intelligence investigation. He cited internal FBI notes that revealed that agents had planned to close their investigation against Flynn weeks earlier.

Flynnet was fired from his post in February 2017 after news came that he had actually discussed sanctions with Kislyak, and former Obama administration officials warned the White House that he could be vulnerable to extortion.

Flynn, from Middletown, Rhode Island, pleaded guilty to one of the president’s assistants in Mueller’s investigation and collaborated extensively for months. He provided such extensive cooperation that prosecutors did not propose imprisonment and suggested that the probationary period be in order.

But convicted in the morning, after making a severe reprimand for Sullivan’s behavior, Flynn asked for the trial to be interrupted so he could continue to cooperate and earn credit for a lesser punishment.

However, he then hired new lawyers, including Conservative commentator Powell and an open critic of Mueller’s investigation, who took a much more confrontational stance before the government.