Trump pardons former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in the final weeks of office

Washington – President Trump announced on Wednesday that he had pardoned Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser who had twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, and given a long-rumored postponement to an army retired lieutenant general as he prepares to resign.

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

The White House issued a more formal statement on the announcement.

“The president has pardoned General Flynn because he should never have been acted upon,” White House spokesman Kayleigh McEnany said. “An independent review of General Flynn’s case by the Department of Justice, conducted by recognized career professionals, supports this conclusion. In fact, the Department of Justice has come to the firm conclusion that the charges against General Flynn should be dismissed.”

The Flynn family issued a lengthy statement to celebrate the decision: “Today, the Flynn family is grateful to President Donald J. Trump for answering our prayers and the prayers of a nation by taking the heavy burdens of injustice off the shoulders of our brother Michael. Thank you for the full grace of innocence. We thank President Trump for acknowledging our brother’s sacrifice in this for the truth, our constitution, our republic, and all that America stands for around the world — a true beacon of freedom. ”

The president repeatedly defended Flynn as an “innocent man” unfairly targeted by unscrupulous FBI officials in their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, which the president has long mocked as “fake news” aimed at undermining his presidency.

Mr. Trump, an early supporter of the 2016 White House bid, Flynn will spend less than a month as a national security adviser before being fired in February 2017 because Mike Pence lied to Vice President about relations with Sergey Kislyak, then U.S. ambassador to Russia.

In the years since, Flynn has been at the center of a legal battle that has gone through the justice system. In December 2017, he pleaded guilty – and agreed to work with Special Adviser Robert Mueller, who took over the Russia case – and then in December 2018 again made false allegations before federal investigators about his dealings with Kislyak. But in January, Flynn withdrew his guilty charge.

In a statement to the Washington District Court, Flynn’s attorneys wrote that he had sought to withdraw his plea “because of the government’s bad faith, revenge, and violation of the indictment.”

In May, the Justice Department sought to dismiss its case against Flynn, launching an ongoing fight with U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who is leading the case. Federal prosecutors stated in their submission that the FBI’s January 2017 interview with Flynn was “not connected and unreasonable” with the counter-investigation. According to the Department of Justice, the office offered a “weak and changing justification” for Flynn’s ongoing investigation.

But Sullivan declined an immediate dismissal of Flynn’s case and appointed a retired federal judge as a friend of the court arguing against the Department of Justice. In response to Sullivan’s move, Flynn asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Columbia District Circuit to force the lower court judge to dismiss the case.

In June, the DC circuit split, the three-judge panel ruled in favor of Flynn and ordered Sullivan to drop the criminal proceedings against him, but Sullivan asked the full court to prepare the dispute. In August, the entire DC circuit dismissed Flynn’s request in a 8-2 verdict and sent the case back to the lower court for Sullivan to consider the Justice Department’s request to drop the case against Flynn.

Sullivan has not yet decided on the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss the charges.

The president’s decision was awaited at the mercy of a former national security adviser, as Mr Trump claimed that Flynn “persecuted“and celebrated the efforts of the Ministry of Justice to dismiss the case against him. The president said in March he was “definitely considering” Flynn’s pardon.

Nevertheless, despite Mr. Trump’s public remarks, Sidney Powell, Flynn’s attorney, explained at a September court hearing that he had asked the president not to pardon Flynn and informed him of the lawsuit.

Mr Trump said it was Powell last week joins his team A number of lawyers debating the results of the presidential election and appeared at a press conference in the Republican National Committee alongside Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, and Trump’s other campaign advisers. But in a suddenly big-faced picture, Jul Ellis, senior legal counsel for Giuliani and Trump’s campaign, said Sunday that Powell is “not a member of Trump’s legal team” and “not a personal lawyer for the president.”

The president’s action was greeted with the swift condemnation of congressional Democrats who accused Mr Trump of abusing his power of grace in the interests of his friends and political allies.

“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,” said Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. , a California Democrat said.

Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in New York, said the grace was “unworthy, unprincipled and another stain on President Trump’s rapidly declining legacy.”

Mr. Trump’s grace to Flynn is probably the first of several in the last weeks of his presidency, as resigning presidents tend to issue grace allowances before leaving office. It’s not just the possible postponement that the president has extended to close Mueller’s auxiliaries.

In July, Mr. Trump mitigated the imprisonment of Republican political operational and informal adviser Roger Stone for days before reporting to jail. Stone was sentenced in November 2019 for seven federal charges and in February for 40 months behind bars.