United States President Donald Trump has given his former national security adviser Presidential clemency. Flynn was pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. The president said the widely expected reprieve was his “Great Honor”. Flynn was among former amides of the Republican probed and convicted during a justice department investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the US elections. He admitted misinforming FBI about the links with Russian envoy in 2017 and tried to withdraw his plea. The WH on Wednesday said that the pardon would finally end “the relentless, partisan pursuit of an innocent man”.
Its statement described Flynn as “the victim of partisan government officials in a coordinated attempt to subvert the election of 2016”.
Trump congratulated the former General in his tweet: “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!”.
Flynn responded to the Republican by posting a tweet containing a US flag emoji and a Biblical verse, Jeremiah 1:19. The verse says: “‘They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,’ declares the Lord.”
The Republican camp sees Flynn as a victim of political victimization driven by departing Obama administration to delegitimize the incoming Trump administration with unverified claims of Russian collusion. A 22-month justice department investigation in 2019 concluded there was no evidence to establish the link between Trump or any of his associates and Kremlin to steal the presidential polls of 2016.
Who is Michael Flynn?
Although a life-ling Democrat before, the retired US Army 3-star lieutenant general emerged a staunch Trump supporter during his 2016 campaign. Flynn, an early Trump supporter during his campaign was among Republican’s first picks for the incoming administration. The two were on the same page on a number of issues including the reviewing of America’s Russia policy and Iran nuclear deal and combating IS threat. However, he lasted just 23 days as NSA and was fired by Trump after it emerged that he had discussed lifting sanctions on Moscow with its ambassador to Washington before Trump entered the Oval Office. He was also accused of misleading the VP about the conversation.
Although he initially agreed to cooperate with prosecution but withdrew his guilty plea in January this year alleging, he had been trapped into signing the deal. The Department of Justice in a legal battle had sought for clearing him of the charges during much of 2020. The Presidential reprieve wipes out the conviction of former 3-star general.
The Reaction to the clemency
Republicans described Flynn as a hero who went through the political vendetta of Obama Administration.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said: “General Flynn was NOT a Russian agent. Instead, he was the victim of a politically motivated investigation and prosecution where the ends justified the means.”
Republican minority leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted: “What happened to @GenFlynn was a national disgrace. No American should ever be targeted for simply belonging to a certain political party.”
But Democrats swiftly condemned the pardon given to ex-national security adviser.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized the move: “Sadly, this pardon is further proof that Trump plans to use his final days in office to undermine the rule of law in the wake of his failed presidency.”
Jerrold Nadler, House Judiciary Committee chairman condemning the action, said: “This pardon is undeserved, unprincipled, and one more stain on President Trump’s rapidly diminishing legacy.”