By ERIC TUCKER, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump on Wednesday pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, ending a prosecution in a Russia investigation that saw Flynn twice convicted of lying to the FBI and Then reversed himself before dismissing the Justice Department. His case.
Trump tweeted, “It is my solemn declaration to grant a full pardon to General Michael T. Flynn.” Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his amazing family, I know that you will have a really awesome prize now! “
The pardon in the coming weeks of Trump’s single term is part of a broader effort by Trump to undo the results of the Russia investigation that overshadowed his administration and criminal charges against a half-dozen allies. This comes months after Roger Stone was sentenced to another aide, days before the president reported to prison.
A Justice Department official said the department was not informed about the amnesty and came to know about the plan on Wednesday. But the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said the president has the legal power to pardon Flynn.
The move is likely to provoke supporters, who have taken Flynn as a reason and rallied around the retired army lieutenant general, as the victim of what they claim is an unfair lawsuit, even if Flynn Has confessed to the crime twice. Trump repeatedly spoke warmly about Fern and, in a sign of his personal interest in his fate, asked the then FBI director James Comey to end the criminal investigation of the National Security Adviser in February 2017.
In a statement, Flynn’s family apologized, thanking Trump “for answering our prayers and the prayers of a nation”.
Democrats saw forgiveness as undesirable and unpredictable. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it “serious corruption and an act of misuse of power”, while during the rape, Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said “the forgiveness by Trump does not erase” the truth of Flynn’s conviction. Contended, “No matter how Trump and his allies try to suggest otherwise.”
“The president’s supporters have produced an elaborate narrative in which Trump and Flynn are victims and the constitution is subject to the farce of the president,” House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler said in a statement. President Trump. “
Forgiveness is the final step in a case defined by Twist and Turns. The most dramatic in May occurred when the Justice Department abruptly moved to dismiss the case, stressing that Flynn should not be interviewed by the FBI for the first time, with only U.S. District Justice Emmett Sullivan opposing the request And appointed a former judge. Argues against the federal government’s position and to evaluate whether Flern should be held in criminal contempt per offense.
That former judge, John Gleeson, called the Justice Department’s request for dismissal an abuse of power, and said its grounds for dropping the case were sometimes developed and “presently predecessor.”
As Sullivan refused to immediately dismiss the prosecution, Flynn’s attorney Sydney Powell sought to bypass the judge, asking a federal appeals court to direct him to drop the case. A three-judge panel did exactly that, but the full court overturned that decision and sent the case back to Sullivan.
At a hearing in September, Powell told Sullivan that she had discussed Flynn’s case with Trump, but also said she did not apologize – possibly because she wanted it to be under consideration in the courts.
Powell emerged as a public face to reverse the consequences of his electoral loss for President-Elect Joe Biden in recent weeks, but the Trump Legal Team distanced themselves from them as they unknowingly carried out conspiracies Claimed further.
The pardon revealed to Flynn the possibility of any prison sentence that Sullivan could potentially impose had he eventually rejected the Justice Department’s dismissal request. The request was made after a review of the case by a federal prosecutor in St. Louis, who was specifically appointed by Attorney General William Burr.
Flynn had an FBI interview a few days after Trump’s inauguration on the issue in the prosecution, about conversations with the then Russian ambassador during the president’s transition period.
Flynn lied during that interview by saying that he had not discussed with the diplomat, Sergei Kislyak, a restriction that Obama’s outgoing administration imposed on Russia to interfere in the election. During that conversation, Flynn advised that Russia could “even commit suicide” in response to punitive measures, and convinced her that “we had better conversations” about relations between countries after Trump became president. can do”.
The conversation worried the FBI, which at the time was investigating whether the Trump campaign and Russia coordinated to block the election. In addition, White House officials were publicly stating that Flynn and Kislyak had not discussed the sanctions, which the FBI knew was untrue.
Flynn was removed from his post in February 2017, with the news that Obama administration officials had warned the White House that Flynn had actually discussed sanctions with the court and was unsafe to blackmail. He pleaded guilty months later to a false statement.
But last May, after years of defending the prosecution, the Justice Department abruptly reversed its position.
It stated that the FBI has no basis for interviewing Flynn about Kisliak and that any statements he made during the interview were not material for the FBI’s extensive counter-investigation. The department also pointed to internal FBI notes that showed agents planned to close the investigation the week before Flynn was interviewed about Kislyak.
Flynn, Middletown, Rhode Island, Were among the first people charged in Muller’s investigation and provided such extensive cooperation that prosecutors did not recommend any jail time, opening up the possibility of probation.
But he was scheduled to be sentenced in the morning, after a stern rebuke from Sullivan about his behavior, Flynn asked to ease the hearing so that he could continue to cooperate and earn credit toward a more lenient sentence.
After that, he hired new lawyers – including Pavel, a conservative commentator and outspoken critic of Müller’s investigation – who took a more confrontational stance with the government and tried to withdraw his guilty plea.
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