Donald Trump pardons Michael Flynn for lying about Russia contacts

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Donald Trump formally — and possibly illegally — pardons former national security adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI about Russia contacts.

Flynn pleaded guilty in late 2017 to two counts of lying to the FBI.

Mr. Flynn was the only White House official to be convicted as part of the Trump-Russia investigation that was completed by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. Under Mr. Trump and Mr. Barr, the administration has been trying to discredit and dismantle that inquiry…

It came to light that Mr. Flynn was lying to his colleagues about conversations he had in December 2016 with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak. In the calls, Mr. Flynn urged Moscow not to escalate in response to sanctions imposed by the departing Obama administration over Russia’s covert election interference to help Mr. Trump, and raised the possibility that the incoming Trump administration would work more closely with Russia.

The New York Times

The decision to pardon Michael Flynn could backfire.

Since Flynn can no longer be prosecuted for crimes related to that investigation, he also cannot incriminate himself. His Fifth Amendment rights may be moot, and he can be forced to testify against Donald Trump and others.

In the first weeks of 2017, Flynn was responsible for passing a document to the Trump transition team that was drafted by Russia with an agenda for the new administration. He also tried pushing an agenda to illegally align U.S. and Russian militaries.

Even after firing Flynn, Trump asked the FBI to end their investigations into his communications with Russia. He fired FBI Director James Comey two months later for not dropping “this Russia thing.”

Update: The official pardon released five days later is sweeping. It pardons Flynn of any crime that could result from investigations by Robert Mueller’s team, not just the crimes he’s already been charged with. Flynn could absolutely be forced to testify in cases related to the Mueller probe.

Sources

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/25/us/politics/michael-flynn-pardon.html?referringSource=articleShare

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-11-25/biden-trump-deliver-starkly-contrasting-messages-on-holiday-eve

https://www.axios.com/trump-pardon-michael-flynn-131c78e2-eb58-4294-9ca1-3c5fb00bf96e.html

Photo: Gage Skidmore

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