Richmond Times-Dispatch

Trump pardons ex-national security aide Flynn

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WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump pardoned former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn on Wednesday, taking direct aim in the final days of his administra­tion at a Russia investigat­ion that he has long insisted was politicall­y motivated.

“It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon,” Trump tweeted. “Congratula­tions to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgivi­ng!”

Flynn is the second Trump associate convicted in the Russia probe to be granted clemency. Trump commuted the sentence of longtime confidant Roger Stone just days before he was to report to prison.

Trump has sought to undo the results of an investigat­ion that for years has shadowed his administra­tion and yielded criminal charges against a half-dozen associates.

The action voids the criminal case against Flynn just as a judge was weighing whether to grant a Justice Department request to dismiss the prosecutio­n despite Flynn’s own guilty plea to lying to the FBI about his Russia contacts.

The move, coming as Trump winds down his term, is likely to energize supporters who have taken up the case and rallied around the retired Army lieutenant general as the victim of what they assert is an unfair prosecutio­n.

Trump himself has repeatedly spoken warmly about Flynn, even though special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutor­s once praised him as amodel cooperator in their probe into ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.

The pardon spares Flynn the possibilit­y of any prison sentence, which U.S. District Justice Emmet Sullivan could potentiall­y have imposed had he rejected the Justice Department’s dismissal request.

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