President Donald Trump on Nov. 25 pardoned former national security adviser Michael Flynn, ending a yearslong criminal case related to the Russia investigation.
“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 wrote on Twitter on Nov. 25.
Flynn had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about speaking to a Russian diplomat during Trump’s 2016 transition period. But Flynn, a retired three-star general who is represented by high-profile attorney Sidney Powell, withdrew his plea before sentencing.
Before his role in the Trump administration, Flynn served as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration. Flynn’s case was used in a narrative that Trump’s campaign colluded with the Kremlin in a bid to sway the 2016 election, and the charge against Flynn was about whether he lied about his calls with Sergey Kislyak, the former Russian ambassador to the United States.
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
Trump, Flynn, and other Trump surrogates have categorically denied they colluded with Russia. Then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s yearslong investigation didn’t reveal any such collusion.
A number of Trump supporters believe that Flynn is the victim of politically motivated retaliation by the Obama administration. Flynn’s lawyers, including Powell, accused the FBI of using an entrapment plot to ensnare him.
“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 told The Epoch Times via email.
“The FBI and DOJ 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.”
In May, the Department of Justice dropped the case, but the presiding district judge, Emmet Sullivan, still hasn’t accepted or denied the dismissal.
Barr tapped a prosecutor in January to review the case. The review unearthed documents that prompted the prosecutor to recommend that the charges against Flynn should be dropped. Flynn has unsuccessfully asked the appeals court to make Sullivan accept the dismissal. The appeals court also rejected Flynn’s request to make Sullivan recuse himself.
Reports earlier in the day were swirling about whether Trump would pardon Flynn.
“It just, frankly, reflects so ill on our democracy, on the United States,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the House Intelligence chair, told CNN. Schiff has been a chief proponent of the Trump–Russia narrative.
In July, Trump commuted Roger Stone, a former associate who was charged in the Mueller probe. Trump said Stone was unfairly targeted in a politically motivated “witch hunt.”
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly characterized the role of the appeals court in the Michael Flynn case. The Epoch Times regrets the error.
Update: The article has been updated with a statement from Sidney Powell.