- President Donald Trump has officially pardoned his former national security adviser who was caught lying to the FBI
- Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about a 2016 conversation with Russian ambassadors to the U.S.
- What ensued was a four-year legal saga as new revelations frequently saw Flynn’s sentencing delayed
- Then in January 2020, Flynn filed to withdraw his legal plea as evidence surfaced of FBI prosecutorial misconduct
- An independent review from the Department of Justice (DoJ) found that Flynn may have been coerced into lying
- The DoJ sought to get all charges against Flynn dropped, but a DC Circuit Court Judge refused to dismiss the case
- Now, President Trump has brought an end to the legal battle with his official pardon
- The move has been blasted by Trump opponents and House Democrats as an abuse of power
President Donald Trump has officially pardoned his former national security adviser who has been caught in a long legal battle after lying to the FBI in 2017.
Retired Army lieutenant general Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about a 2016 conversation with Russian ambassadors during the transition from the Obama administration to the Trump administration.
What followed was a four-year legal saga after revelations came forward of potential prosecutorial misconduct. Today, the saga has been brought to an end by the presidential pardon.
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
What was the Michael Flynn case all about?
Flynn was nominated to run the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency by Barack Obama and was later named as Donald Trump’s national security adviser.
However, Flynn’s stint in the White House was short-lived; after just 22 days, he was forced to resign when it was revealed he had lied to investigators — including Vice President Mike Pence — about his talks with the Russian United States ambassador.
“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI,” President Trump said on Twitter in December 2017.
“He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!” Trump said.
Flynn later entered a plea deal with Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion investigation, but his sentencing was delayed several times because of different recommendations from the U.S. Department of Justive (DoJ).
It was all thrown up in the air in January 2020, however, when Flynn filed papers to withdraw his guilty plea.
The withdrawal came after evidence surfaced alleging that Flynn was “framed” for the lying.
Essentially, Flynn’s lawyers said the evidence showed he was coerced into lying to the FBI, but even so, there was no evidence of crime or counterintelligence threat.
The evidence allegedly included hand-written notes from senior FBI officials raising concerns about whether the FBI was “playing games” with Flynn to catch him in a lie so they could “prosecute him or get him fired”.
Given all this, in May 2020, the DoJ sought to drop any criminal charges against Flynn at the direction of Trump ally Attorney General William Barr.
Nevertheless, a DC Circuit Court Judge refused to dismiss the case.
Now, President Trump has personally thrown the case out the window with the official pardon.
Trump: Flynn should “should never have been prosecuted”
According to a statement from the White House on the matter, President Trump made the call to pardon Flynn because the president believes he should never have been prosecuted in the first place.
“An independent review of General Flynn’s case by the Department of Justice — conducted by respected career professionals — supports this conclusion,” the White House said.
The statement said the pardon brings an end to the “relentless, partisan pursuit of an innocent man”.
“Multiple investigations have produced evidence establishing that General Flynn was the victim of partisan government officials engaged in a coordinated attempt to subvert the election of 2016,” the statement said.
“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 White House statement claims these efforts were enabled by a “complicit media that willingly published falsehoods and hid inconvenient facts from public view”.
“Crooked to the end.”
Opponents of President Trump have lambasted him for the decision to pardon Flynn.
Democrat congressman and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said in a statement the president “abused the pardon power to reward Michael Flynn”, who Schiff claims chose loyalty to Trump over loyalty to America.
“There is no doubt that a President has broad power to confer pardons, but when they are deployed to insulate himself, his family, and his associates from criminal investigation, it is a corruption of the Framer’s intent,” Schiff said.
“It’s no surprise that Trump would go out just as he came in — crooked to the end.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the pardon an abuse of power, saying Trump is using his pardon power to “protect those who lie to cover up his wrongdoing”.