WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump announced he has granted his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, a “full pardon,” taking away the guilty plea of the intelligence official for lying to the FBI.
The move was expected by many surrounding Mr. Trump as the Flynn case has been hanging over Trump’s presidency since early 2017 as well as questions surrounding Attorney General William Barr’s leadership at the Justice Department.
Mr. Trump announced the news late Wednesday afternoon on Twitter, saying the disgraced former official can “now have a Happy Thanksgiving” with his family.
The pardon also ends a three-year legal battle where, as of recently, the Justice Department was trying to drop the case after Flynn’s charge hung in an appeals court. The Justice Department has said Flynn never should have been investigated by the FBI and that his lies to them in January 2017 were void.
“The President has pardoned General Flynn because he should never have been prosecuted,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.
Mr. Trump said back in March he was “strongly considering” a pardon for Flynn and reportedly told aides he would pardon him before leaving office. Flynn’s pardon is the second close Trump confidant to be given the presidential act of clemency after Roger Stone.
Following the President’s tweet, several reports suggest more pardons could come in the next few days or weeks as Mr. Trump looks to overturn decisions by the government against his former officials and campaign aides.
Flynn appeared twice before federal judges and admitted, under oath, that he was guilty of lying to the FBI over the past two years but more recently had recanted his guilty plea and claimed his innocence.
Flynn went on to claim he was set up by federal agents positioning himself as a right-wing martyr in Trump’s fight against “deep state”.