WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump on Wednesday pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, ending a prosecution in a Russia investigation that saw Flynn twice convicted of lying to the FBI and then The Justice Department reversed itself before being dismissed. His case.
Trump tweeted that General Michael T. It is my great fortune to announce the granting of full pardon to Flynn. “Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his amazing family, I know you will have a really wonderful thanks now!”
The pardon in the coming weeks of Trump’s single term is part of a broader effort by Trump to undo the results of the Russia investigation that overshadowed his administration and criminal charges against a half-dozen allies. It comes a few months after the president sentenced another Roger Stone aide to report in prison.
A Justice Department official said the department was not informed about the amnesty and came to know about the plan on Wednesday. But the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said the president has the legal power to pardon Flynn.
The move is likely to provoke supporters, who have taken Flynn as a reason and rallied around the retired army lieutenant general, as the victim of what they claim is an unfair lawsuit, even if Flynn Has confessed to the crime twice. Trump repeatedly spoke warmly about Fern and, in a sign of his personal interest in his fate, asked the then FBI Director James Comey to end a criminal investigation in February 2017. In National Security Advisor.
In a statement, Flynn’s family apologized, thanking Trump “for answering our prayers and the prayers of a nation”.
Democrats saw forgiveness as undesirable and unpredictable. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it “an act of grave corruption and a great abuse of power”, while Rep. Adam Intel, Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Adam, said “the forgiveness by Trump does not erase” the truth of Flynn’s conviction. Contended, “No matter how Trump and his allies try to suggest otherwise.”
“The president’s supporters have produced an elaborate narrative in which Trump and Flynn are victims and the constitution is subject to the farce of the president,” House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler said in a statement. “Americans rejected this nonsense when they voted for President Trump. “
Forgiveness is a final step in the case defined by forgiveness and diversion. The most dramatic came in May when the Justice Department suddenly went to dismiss the case, Insisting that Flynn should not have been interviewed by the FBI for the first time, only U.S. District Judge Emmett Sullivan opposed the request and hired a former judge to argue against the federal government’s position Was and to evaluate whether Flynn should be placed in the offender. Contempt for contempt.
That former judge, John Gleeson, called the Justice Department’s dismissal request an abuse of power, and said its grounds for leaving the case had ever developed. And “presently predecessor.”
As Sullivan refused to immediately dismiss the prosecution, Flynn’s attorney Sydney Powell sought to bypass the judge, asking a federal appeals court to direct him to drop the case. A three-judge panel did exactly that, but the full court overturned that decision and sent the case back to Sullivan.
At a hearing in September, Powell told Sullivan that she had discussed Flynn’s case with Trump, but also said she did not apologize – possibly because she wanted him to appear in court.
Powell emerged separately in recent weeks as a public face to reverse the consequences of his electoral losses for Trump’s presidential election, but the Trump legal team distanced themselves from him, as he made several illegal conspiracy claims Carried forward
The pardon revealed to Flynn the possibility of any prison sentence that Sullivan could potentially impose had he eventually rejected the Justice Department’s dismissal request. The request was made after a review of the case by a federal prosecutor in St. Louis, specifically appointed by Attorney General William Burr.
Flynn had an FBI interview a few days after Trump’s inauguration on the issue in the prosecution, about conversations with the then Russian ambassador during the president’s transition period.
Flynn lied during that interview by saying that he had not discussed with the diplomat, Sergei Kiselayak, a ban that was imposed on Obama’s administration for interfering in the election. During that conversation, Flynn advised that Russia could “even commit suicide” in response to punitive measures, and convinced her that “we had better conversations” about relations between countries after Trump became president. can do”.
The conversation worried the FBI, which at the time was investigating whether the Trump campaign and Russia coordinated to block the election. In addition, White House officials were publicly stating that Flynn and Kislyak had not discussed the sanctions, which the FBI knew was untrue.
Flynn was removed from his post in February 2017, with news that Obama administration officials had warned the White House that Flynn had in fact discussed sanctions with the Court and was unsafe to blackmail. He pleaded guilty months later to a false statement.
But last May, after years of defending the prosecution, the Justice Department abruptly reversed its position.
It stated that the FBI has no basis for interviewing Flynn about Kisliak and that any statements he made during the interview were not material for the FBI’s extensive counter-investigation. The department also pointed to internal FBI notes that showed agents planned to close the investigation the week before Flynn was interviewed about Kislyak.
Flodon, Middletown, Rhode Island, was among the first people charged in Müller’s investigation and provided such broad cooperation that prosecutors did not recommend any jail time, opening up the possibility of probation.
But in the morning he was to be sentenced, after a stern rebuke from Sullivan about his behavior, Flynn asked for the hearing to be reduced so that he could continue to cooperate and earn credit toward a more lenient sentence.
After that, he hired new lawyers – including Powell, a conservative commentator and outspoken critic of Müller’s investigation – who took a more confrontational stance with the government and tried to withdraw his guilty plea.