Donald Trump has pardoned Michael Flynn, his first national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts with a Russian official.
Trump announced the long-awaited pardon in a tweeter Wednesday.
“It is a great honor for me to announce that General Michael T Flynn has received a full pardon,” Trump wrote. “Congratulations to General Flynn and his wonderful family, I know you are going to have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving now.”
Trump is expected to offer pardons to a number of key assistants before stepping down on January 20.
He has already commuted the sentence of Roger Stone, a longtime ally who like Flynn, campaign manager Paul Manafort and Councilor George Papadopoulos were convicted in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russian electoral interference and Trump-Moscow ties.
Stone was sentenced to more than three years in prison, after being convicted of obstruction, lying to Congress and intimidating witnesses. His conviction holds.
Flynn had not been convicted. Former campaign CEO and Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon, accused of fraud, or his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, has also reportedly not been the subject of a federal investigation for potential violations of the law. the law on lobbying.
While the pardon for Flynn was widely anticipated, his announcement drew much criticism.
“We’ve all seen it coming, but it’s still a savage abuse of power,” said Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor turned CNN analyst, written on twitter.
On air, Honig said, “Don’t let the fact that it all seems inevitable make it look OK or normal. Donald Trump forgives or shuttles people who are a) his political allies and b) who might have been able to speak out against the President’s wrongdoing. “
Flynn, a retired general, was a trusted surrogate for Trump during the 2016 election campaign, but he only served 24 days in the White House before Trump fired him for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about a conversation in which he told Russian Ambassador Sergey. Kislyak Moscow must not respond to the sanctions imposed by the Obama administration.
As part of a deal with Mueller, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. It has become a famous cause among Trump supporters, who have claimed he was a victim of the Obama administration and trapped by the office.
Flynn’s fate mingled with that of James Comey, the FBI director Trump sacked in May 2017, triggering Mueller’s appointment.
Another former district attorney, Mimi Rocah, now an elected district attorney for Westchester County, New York, tweeted on Wednesday that Flynn’s road to forgiveness “started with Trump telling Comey, ‘Hope you can see your clear path to drop that “and Comey resisted that pressure”.
In January of this year, Flynn sought to withdraw his guilty plea, which sparked an endless legal battle between the presiding judge and a Justice Department headed by William Barr, a close ally of Trump.
Trump has repeatedly expressed his support, notwithstanding a frequently cited tweet from December 2017 in which he writes: “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI.” He pleaded guilty to these lies. It’s a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!
Flynn was represented by Sidney Powell, an attorney recently expelled from Trump’s lawsuits challenging the results of his electoral defeat by Joe Biden after voicing crazy conspiracy theories. In court in September, Powell said she asked Trump not to forgive Flynn.
Rocah wrote on Wednesday: “Henchman Barr attempted to do so and was arrested by judicial review. So here we are. Corruption from start to finish. “
Trump has already pardoned allies, including former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik and former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The debate now turns to whether Trump will attempt to forgive himself – a move that would be historically unusual and which, if successful, could only apply to federal matters, not state-level affairs.
Moreover, as the Ministry of Justice points out, a presidential pardon always implies guilt.
A pardon is “granted in recognition of the applicant’s acceptance of responsibility for the crime,” says the DoJ, “and established good conduct for a significant period of time after conviction or completion of sentence.
“It doesn’t mean innocence. “