Washington (AP) – US President Donald Trump has pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“It is a great honor for me to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has received a full pardon,” Trump wrote on Twitter. The retired general was involved in the Russia affair over possible electoral influence from Russia. Trump could pardon more people before the end of his term on January 20.
In his tweet, Trump congratulated Flynn and his family and wrote this Thursday, in view of the upcoming holiday, “I know you’re really going to have a fantastic Thanksgiving!”
Flynn had served as a National Security Advisor for just a little over three weeks in 2017. He later admitted in the course of the investigation into possible Russian influence on the 2016 U.S. presidential election that he lied to the FBI’s federal police force. He is also alleged to have lied to Vice President Mike Pence on this matter. Flynn was the only one to blame the investigation of the FBI’s special investigator Robert Mueller.
In January, Flynn filed a motion to retract his confession shortly before a verdict was expected in his trial. In May, in a highly unusual step, the Justice Department called for the proceedings to be terminated. It is not believed that Flynn’s January 2017 hearing was based on a legitimate investigation, it said among other things. Trump then praised Flynn as a “hero.”
The case was stuck in federal court following the controversial advance of the Justice Department. The judge responsible had not agreed to drop the allegations against Flynn.
Trump has long considered pardoning his confidant. In March he had stated that he was strongly considering considering a “full pardon”. According to Trump, Flynn has been treated unfairly by the judiciary and the FBI. Trump repeatedly complained that Flynn was being prosecuted by the judiciary. “You accused Flynn of lying and he wasn’t lying,” Trump said in an October interview.
Ahead of the November presidential election, the issue of the legal battle in Flynn that Republicans used to set up their supporters against an alleged establishment conspiracy had been debated. Critics may see Flynn’s pardon as further evidence of their claim that Trump is using his office to protect friends and partners from prosecution.