US President Donald Trump pardons former security adviser Michael Flynn over Russia ties
- Michael Flynn served as the National Security adviser in the Trump administration
- Flynn had pleaded guilty of lying to FBI agents, twice, in 2017
- Flynn also took money for appearances with Russian companies.
Outgoing US President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced that he had pardoned former security adviser Michael Flynn, as per AFP report.
Flynn, who was the 25th national security adviser, and served just 22 days in the Trump administration until his resignation had also pleaded guilty of lying to the FBI in 2017.
Flynn's lies about his Russian contacts spurred the troubling investigation into the Trump campaign collusion with Moscow, as per AFP.
Political analysts have opined that it was the first of several possible pardons that the outgoing President can extend to political cohorts and allies before he steps down on January 20, as per AFP.
The President’s pardon helped Flynn avoid a potential prison sentence being weighed by a Washington federal court, reported AFP.
The Presidential pardon puts to bed the remaining case arising from special counsel Robert Mueller’s 2017-19 investigation into the Trump campaign, which saw six campaign associates plead guilty or be convicted at trial.
President Trump tweeted, "It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon."
The 74-year-old also wished the former army lieutenant general a ‘truly fantastic Thanksgiving!”
The White House issued a statement saying the pardon brings “an end to the relentless, partisan pursuit of an innocent man.”
The statement further stated that the investigation into Flynn “was a coordinated attempt to subvert the election of 2016" and to "undermine (Trump's) administration at every turn."
Flynn was targeted in an FBI counterintelligence investigation over secret phone calls with the Russian ambassador to the United States in December 2016, following Trump’s election victory.
Flynn allegedly in one phone call sought to undermine the impact of sanctions and expulsions announced by former president Barack Obama against Moscow over its interference in the 2016 election.
Flynn also took significant sums of money over the previous two years for appearances with Russian companies. He was forced to resign as Trump’s national security advisor in February 2017, less than four weeks into the administration.
Flynn also pleaded guilty of lying to FBI agents, twice, in late 2017.