San Francisco Chronicle
Trump takes aim at Russia probe with pardon of exaide Michael Flynn.
WASHINGTON — President 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 motivated by political bias.
“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 by the president. Trump commuted the sentence of longtime confidant Roger Stone just days before he was to report to prison. It is part of a broader effort 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 federal judge was weighing, skeptically, 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 single term, is likely to energize supporters who have taken up the case as a cause celebre and rallied around the retired Army lieutenant general as the victim of what they assert is an unfair prosecution.
Flynn acknowledged lying during the FBI interview by saying he had not discussed with the thenrussian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, sanctions that had just been imposed on Russia for election interference by the outgoing Obama administration. During that conversation, Flynn assured Kislyak “we can have a better conversation” about relations between the two countries after Trump became president.
He was among the first of the president’s aides to admit guilt in Robert Mueller’s investigation.