As I’ve predicted practically since time began, Donald Trump has pardoned former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn.
Flynn pleaded guilty (twice!) to charges of lying to the FBI about his conversations with a Russian diplomat.
From the New York Times:
It came to light that Mr. Flynn was lying to his colleagues about conversations he had in December 2016 with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak.
In the calls, Mr. Flynn urged Moscow not to escalate in response to sanctions imposed by the departing Obama administration over Russia’s covert election interference to help Mr. Trump, and raised the possibility that the incoming Trump administration would work more closely with Russia.
The pattern of lying raised new suspicions about Mr. Flynn. The F.B.I. sent agents to interview him at the White House even though deliberations with the Justice Department about whether to first tell Mr. Trump’s new White House counsel were not yet resolved.
Notes from a meeting related to that interview suggest a purpose of the interview may have been to see whether Mr. Flynn would lie again to the F.B.I. agents — as he did.
Despite Flynn pleading guilty to the eventual charges, Trump – who fired Flynn in 2017 for lying to Vice President Mike Pence and the FBI about his conversation with Russia’s ambassador – continually said Flynn was “treated terribly” by the Intelligence community.
As many have noted, a presidential pardon requires admitting guilt. In doing so, Flynn would lose any 5th Amendment protections regarding being called to testify on the issues.
In related news, NBC News reports that prosecutors in New York City are seeking to have the state’s highest court revive mortgage fraud charges against Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
“A four-judge panel in the intermediate court ruled Oct. 22 that the DA’s office failed to demonstrate that the state charges warranted an exception to state double jeopardy protections. That echoed trial court judge Maxwell Wiley’s finding last December that the state charges against Manafort mirrored the federal case that landed him behind bars.”
Expect Manafort to receive a pardon in regard to his federal case as well. A new case brought by the Manhattan DA would be exempt from Trump’s pardon powers as state charges can’t be resolved by a 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
The chief of staff & press secretary have both congratulated Mike Flynn on his pardon tonight without mentioning how lied to those who preceded them. Trump said he fired Flynn for lying to Pence, but Flynn had also lied to multiple others, including Reince Priebus & Sean Spicer.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) November 25, 2020
Donald Trump has repeatedly abused the pardon power to reward friends and protect those who covered up for him.
This time he pardons Michael Flynn, who lied to hide his dealings with the Russians.
It’s no surprise that Trump would go out as he came in —
Crooked to the end.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) November 25, 2020
Michael Flynn pleaded guilty for lying to the FBI twice—and should be held accountable for it. The President’s decision to pardon him today is corrupt. No one should be above the law—regardless of their connections.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) November 25, 2020