After losing the 2020 Presidential election in early November, leaving Trump with only a limited term to serve out, President Trump has announced that he has granted former national security adviser Michael Flynn a full pardon.
Flynn was a supporter of Trump during the 2016 election and served as Trump’s first national security adviser in early 2017. A retired lieutenant general from the army, Flynn resigned from his position as national security adviser after it came out that he had misled White House officials about the content of his conversations with a Russian official. US surveillance, though, captured the exchange, which led to Flynn being questioned by the FBI.
In late 2017, Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI and agreed to cooperate with the investigation. Then, in January of 2020, Flynn sought to withdraw his guilty plea soon after federal prosecutors recommended that he serve up to six months in prison, with his counsel arguing that in doing so, the government had reneged on its promise of leniency in return for Flynn’s cooperation and assistance. Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, accused the government of reversing “its earlier representations” and described the move as “vindictive” and “in bad faith.”
Several other Trump advisers and allies have been criminally charged since Trump became president, many of whom were implicated by the Mueller investigation. Aside from Flynn, they include Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and Steve Bannon, who has been charged with fraud related to his involvement with “We Build The Wall,” an organization that solicits donations to help build President Trump’s border wall.
A few months ago, in July of this year, President Trump also granted a commutation to Roger Stone, who was sentenced to three years in prison for seven felonies. Stone is a longtime friend of President Trump’s, and his commutation came soon before he was meant to report for his prison sentence.
President Trump has, it seems, granted clemency and presidential pardons less often than many of the presidents who preceded him, though as President Trump’s tenure in office comes to a close, it is possible that this may change. In general, though, President Trump has been critiqued for frequently giving clemency to friends or allies.
Regarding Flynn’s pardon, President Trump tweeted: “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!”
The announcement of Flynn’s pardon comes soon after sources close to the situation came forward and told news outlets that President Trump had discussed such a possibility.