Trump pardons Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to FBI

Former national security adviser part of investigation into Russian US election meddling

Michael Flynn arriving at federal court in Washington in December 2018. File photograph: Tom Brenner/The New York Times

Michael Flynn arriving at federal court in Washington in December 2018. File photograph: Tom Brenner/The New York Times

 

US president Donald Trump has pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

“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!” Mr Trump said on Twitter.

It marked the latest instance in which Mr Trump has used his power of executive clemency to benefit a friend or associate. Prominent Democrats responded quickly and angrily to the move.

“President Trump’s pardoning of Michael Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his dealings with a foreign adversary, is an act of grave corruption and a brazen abuse of power,” House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

A retired army general, Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about interactions he had with Russia’s ambassador to the US in the weeks leading up to Mr Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. He has since sought to withdraw the plea, arguing that prosecutors violated his rights and duped him into a plea agreement. His sentencing has been deferred several times.

Flynn served as Mr Trump’s first national security adviser but the president fired him in early 2017 after only 24 days as a controversy broke over the former general’s contacts with then Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

Flynn was one of several former Trump aides to plead guilty or be convicted at trial in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Moscow’s interference in the 2016 US election to boost Mr Trump’s candidacy. Russia denied meddling. – Reuters