President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he had forgiven his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty three years ago to lying to FBI agents.
A judge by the US Department of Justice ruled a pending motion to dismiss the case and ruled on Flynn’s guilty plea, regarding the nature of his negotiations with Russia’s ambassador to the United States after Trump’s election Inaccurate statements can be made to agents. 2016
Trump said in a Twitter post, “It is my great fortune to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a full pardon.”
“Congratulations to @GenFlynn And his wonderful family, I know that you will have a really wonderful thanks now! “
Trump has said repeatedly that he was considering pardoning the retired army lieutenant general, who was fired as his national security adviser in early 2017, when Flynn asked Vice President Mike Pence for a Russian diplomat Lied after this conversation with.
Democratic nominee Joe Biden was projected to win the presidential election, expected to be his final week in the White House, with Trump issuing other pardons.
Trump has refused to win the election, but there is little chance of overturning Biden’s victory through legal challenges to ballots or the state’s popular votes.
A spokesperson for the Biden transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC on the pardon.
Two hours before Trump’s announcement, Flynn tweeted a biblical verse from the book of Jeremiah that wrote, “And they will fight against you; but they will not be against you; for I am with you, to save Jehovah.” ; You. “
Flynn’s defense lawyer Sidney Powell told Judge Amy Sullivan in September, who was handling the case, that he had spoken directly to Trump about the “overall state” of the trial.
Powell also said at a court hearing that he told Flynn “not to issue an apology” to Trump as he continued efforts to get the Justice Department to dismiss his case.
In a statement to CNBC on Wednesday, Powell said, “Michael Flynn’s forgiveness is entirely up to the president, but the corruption we have seen in the judiciary and many agencies of government executing against General Flynn ended this persecution.” Should be. “
“FBI and [Department of Justice] Powell said, there was national embarrassment for more than 15 years.
“It was my fervent hope to make our judicial system work to drive away an innocent person – just as all leftists want it to be but Trump or Michael Flynn, but enough is enough. It’s sick. It’s painful. Clearly Judge Sullivan is playing. A bad political game with the life and family of a good man. “
Rep. Adam Adam, D-California., Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, blasted Trump in a Twitter post on forgiveness.
“Donald Trump has repeatedly abused the pardon power to reward friends and protect those who cover for him,” Schiff said. “This time he forgives Michael Flynn, who lied to hide his dealings with the Russians.”
“It’s no surprise that Trump will come out as soon as he comes – to the crooked end.”
Trump has previously granted executive clemency to other political allies.
In July, Trump sentenced longtime Republican operative Roger Stone, convicted of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering as part of the then special counsel Robert Muller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election had gone. It was just a few days. Stone was previously due to begin a 40-month jail term.
As with Flynn’s case, Trump had long called Stone’s prosecution a “witch hunt”.
In May 2018, Trump pardoned conservative pundit and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza. D’Souza was convicted in 2014 for contributing to the illegal campaign.
Flynn pleaded guilty on December 1, 2017, during a hearing in Sullivan’s court.
Flynn admitted to the agents by falsely claiming that he and Kislyak had discussed Russia not retaliating for sanctions imposed on Russia by the outgoing Obama administration as a punishment for interfering in the 2016 presidential election.
As part of his plea, he then agreed to cooperate in the investigation, which was done by former FBI director Muller due to Russian interference in the election and possible coordination with members of Trump’s campaign.
Flynn was scheduled to be sentenced in December 2018, when Sullivan suggested he sold his actions to the United States, and would be sent to prison following a judge’s suggestion. Sullivan agreed to postpone the sentence to give Flynn time to end his association with Muller’s investigation.
But months later, Flynn hired Powell as his new attorney, and began an attempt to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming federal prosecutors.
After opposing Flynn’s months of efforts, the Justice Department filed its motion to dismiss the case earlier this year.
Seeking his dismissal, Timothy Shea, the then Interim U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, argued that Flynn’s FBI interview was not justified by a retaliatory investigation, and that he was not a Russian diplomat about his lies that he said For “material”.
But Sullivan refused to immediately sign the dismissal immediately.
Instead, the judge hired an outside counsel to argue against the Justice Department request.
That lawyer, former federal judge John Gleeson, later told Sullivan that the Justice Department had “grossly misused prosecution power” in asking him to drop the case.
“The government has committed highly erratic conduct to benefit a political ally of the president,” Gleeson wrote in a reported legal filing.
Flynn appealed to the US Court of the District of Columbia to force Sullivan to wind up his case, and bar the judge from allowing Gleeson to act as an attorney as a Justice Department post.
A three-judge panel of that appellate court agreed with him in his decision that the case should be dismissed.
But Sullivan asked for a full line of judges in that appellate court to reconsider that decision.
The appellate court did so, sending the case back to the judge to accept the DOJ’s request for dismissal.
Although Sullivan heard the case at the end of September, he had yet to rule on whether to dismiss the case. If he had refused the request, Flynn would almost certainly have appealed that refusal.
But such appeals are unlikely to be resolved before Trump leaves office in late January.
– Additional reporting by Christina Wilkie
This is a breaking news. Check back for updates.