President Trump pardoned his former national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, on Wednesday, ending Flynn’s three-year prosecution for allegedly lying to the FBI.
Trump announced the pardon on Twitter on Wednesday.
“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!” 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 25, 2020
In December of 2017, Flynn had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during a January interview with two agents, including former FBI special agent Peter Strzok, before reversing course in January of 2020 after replacing his legal team with attorney Sydney Powell. The Justice Department filed to have the charges against Flynn dropped later that year in May. The judge presiding over Flynn’s case has refused the department’s motion, however, keeping the case open.
Attorney General William Barr tapped U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, Jeff Jensen, to work with DOJ prosecutor Brandon Van Grack to review the federal government’s materials in Flynn’s case in February. Several months later, Jensen recommended to Barr that the Justice Department drop its case against Flynn over exculpatory evidence that undercut the department’s case against the former national security adviser. Barr accepted Jensen’s recommendation.
“It’s on the question of materiality that we feel really that a crime cannot be established here because there was not, in our view, a legitimate investigation going on,” Barr said in a May interview explaining his decision to drop the case against Flynn. “They did not have a basis for a counterintelligence investigation against Flynn at that stage, based on a perfectly legitimate and appropriate call he made as a member of the transition.”
U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan refused to sign off on the DOJ’s motion to dismiss, instead appointing an outside attorney to prosecute the case against Flynn. The case has since been appealed to the federal Court of Appeals and remanded back to a trial judge.
On Wednesday, Flynn’s attorney Powell said that she had asked Trump not to pardon the retired general as she fought for his case to be dismissed.
“The pardon of Michael Flynn is solely up to the President, but given the corruption we have witnessed in the judiciary and multiple agencies of government executed against General Flynn, this persecution should end,” Powell said in a statement to CNBC. “The FBI and [Department of Justice] have been a national embarrassment for more than 15 years.”
“It was my fervent hope to make our judicial system work to exonerate an innocent man — as all the Left would want were he anyone but Trump or Michael Flynn, but enough is enough. This is sick. It’s painfully obvious Judge Sullivan is playing an evil political game with a good man’s life and family,” Powell said.
This article has been expanded after publication to include additional information.