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Reports: Trump plans to pardon Ret. Gen. Michael Flynn who served as his first National Security Advisor

Former national security advisor Michael Flynn arrives at U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., for his sentencing hearing on Dec. 18, 2018. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
November 25, 2020

President Trump is reportedly planning to pardon former national security adviser and retired Army general Michael Flynn, according to new reports.

Two sources told Axios and Reuters and others that Flynn, who has been awaiting a decision on his fate amid charges that he lied to the FBI about communicating with Russians, is one of numerous pardons Trump is planning to issue before he leaves office.

Trump had said in March that he was strongly considering a pardon for Flynn after the FBI and DOJ “destroyed” Flynn’s life. However, Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell had said in September that Flynn did not want Trump to pardon him.

The Department of Justice had filed documents on May 7 moving to dismiss Flynn’s case “after a considered review of all the facts and circumstances of this case, including newly discovered and disclosed information.” District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who is overseeing Flynn’s case, rejected the dismissal and instead wanted to prolong legal proceedings to discuss the proposed dismissal.

A three-judge appeals panel had agreed that Sullivan could not extend the case, however, the decision went before the full 10-judge panel in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, who ruled in an 8-2 decision that Sullivan could proceed with a hearing to review the DOJ’s move to dismiss the case.

Flynn had pleaded guilty in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 1, 2017, for providing a false statement to the FBI about his contact with Moscow’s then-ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislya, during President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign on which Flynn was an advisor. Flynn and his legal team maintain that the FBI ambushed him and tried to entrap him.

Internal FBI notes unsealed in late April suggest agents deliberated a “goal” of getting Flynn to lie during an interview that ultimately resulted in his firing from the White House and prosecuted by Robert Mueller’s special counsel team.

The notes, handwritten by the FBI’s former head of counterintelligence Bill Priestap after a meeting with then-FBI Director James Comey and then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, suggest the FBI wanted to draw Flynn into a lie if they couldn’t get him to admit to a violation of the Logan Act, which forbids U.S. citizens from conducting foreign diplomacy without authorization.

Transcripts of Flynn’s calls with a Russian diplomat were declassified and released in June and showed no wrongdoing, according to Republican lawmakers, although Democrats maintain that he lied when discussing the call with the FBI.

Flynn had filed to withdraw his guilty plea last year, while arguing prosecutorial misconduct and accusing prosecutors of withholding information considered “favorable” to Flynn.

The DOJ contended in May that Flynn’s Jan. 24, 2017 interview was “conducted without any legitimate investigative basis” and was “untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn.