On Wednesday afternoon, President Donald Trump announced that he had pardoned Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who briefly served as Trump’s national security advisor. Trump fired Flynn after revelations the advisor had made contradictory statements to Vice President Mike Pence about his meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. In 2017, he pled guilty to making false statements to the FBI regarding contacts with Kislyak.
Yet in January, Flynn requested to withdraw his guilty plea. The Department of Justice (DOJ) tried to drop the case against Flynn after Flynn’s lawyer, Sidney Powell, presented evidence suggesting the former advisor was “set up by corrupt agents” who threatened his son in order to pressure him into pleading guilty. Yet the federal judge handling the case, Emmet Sullivan, has yet to rule on whether to drop the charges against Flynn.
Trump confirmed recent chatter that predicted he would pardon Flynn.
“It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon,” Trump tweeted. “Congratulations to [General Flynn] and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!”
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
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) condemned the pardon.
“This pardon is undeserved, unprincipled, and one more stain on President Trump’s rapidly diminishing legacy,” Nadler wrote. He argued that “President Trump dangled this pardon to encourage Flynn to backtrack on his pledge to cooperate with federal investigators—corruption that might have exposed the President’s own wrongdoing. And it worked.”
“The President’s enablers have constructed an elaborate narrative in which Trump and Flynn are victims and the Constitution is subject to the whims of the President,” the Democrat sneered.
Nadler on Flynn:
"This pardon is undeserved, unprincipled, and one more stain on President Trump’s rapidly diminishing legacy." pic.twitter.com/gfXlJNRiJr
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) November 25, 2020
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley noted that Trump should not have needed to pardon Flynn, however.
“Trump just pardoned Flynn. This should not have been an issue since the DOJ asked many months ago for the case to be dropped,” Turley noted. “Sullivan’s continued refusal to issue a final decision forced the issue.”
Trump just pardoned Flynn. This should not have been an issue since the DOJ asked many months ago for the case to be dropped. Sullivan's continued refusal to issue a final decision forced the issue. https://t.co/XQiMz3tUkq
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) November 25, 2020
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.