Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that he had granted a pardon to his former National Security adviser Michael Flynn, who had pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian diplomat.
“It is my great honor to announce that General Michael Flynn has benefited from a complete pardon,” tweeted the US president who is due to leave the White House on January 20.
Michael Flynn was the first close to the concerned president in connection with the investigation into suspicions of an agreement between Moscow and the campaign team of the billionaire Republican, during the 2016 election.
This “Russian investigation” poisoned the first two years of Donald Trump’s mandate, but ended with a lack of evidence of collusion.
General Flynn took part in the Republican’s victorious campaign and then had confidential exchanges with Russian Ambassador to Washington Sergei Kisliak in December 2016.
Having become a National Security adviser, he was questioned on January 24, 2017 by the federal police, but he concealed these contacts. He quickly had to resign for also lying to Vice President Mike Pence.
In 2017, Michael Flynn agreed to plead guilty to perjury and to cooperate with the Russian investigation.
But he had changed lawyers and defense strategy in 2019. He had since requested the cancellation of the procedure, claiming to be the victim of manipulation.
In May, the Department of Justice, led by Bill Barr, one of Donald Trump’s strongest supporters, decided to drop the charges against him, a rare move when the accused admitted his wrongdoing.
These could have been reopened by a new administration, but the presidential pardon definitively closes the file.
“This grace is unjustified, contrary to principles and leaves an additional stain” on Donald Trump’s record, immediately criticized the elected Democrat Jerry Nadler, who chairs the judicial committee of the House of Representatives.
The president “brandished this pardon to encourage Flynn to backtrack on his promise to cooperate with federal investigators, a cooperation that could have exposed the president’s misdeeds”, he added, denouncing “an abuse of power which weakens the rule of law ”.