Former National Security Advisor Lt. General Michael Flynn was pardoned by President Donald Trump on Wednesday.
Trump tweeted, "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!"
He then tweeted again a few hours later and added, "Have a great life General Flynn!"
Have a great life General Flynn! https://t.co/Qj21mnMP0k
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 26, 2020
Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI back in December of 2017. However, he later withdrew that pleas when more evidence emerged.
Flynn served in the U.S. Army for three decades. He also served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) under President Barack Obama. However, he felt Obama was not pursuing terrorists aggressively enough. He was eventually fired.
He saw an opportunity to advocate for his views in Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. A crowd favorite, Flynn was the warmup speaker for Trump on the campaign trail. When Trump won, he named Flynn his National Security Advisor. Flynn spent the transition planning an overhaul of national security strategy; his work continues to shape Trump’s policies.
The defeated campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed that Russian interference had cost her the election. Senior Obama administration officials also told the media that they believed Trump had colluded with Russia. They identified Flynn as a potential link to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and warned Trump’s transition team about him.
During the transition, Flynn had conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, among other foreign officials. Flynn urged Russia not to escalate its response to Obama administration sanctions for election interference, and explored the possibility that Russia might oppose an anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security Council that had Obama’s tacit blessing. These conversations were picked up by intelligence surveillance of the ambassador; they would later leak to the media, after officials — presumably, a senior official within the Obama administration — had “unmasked” Flynn’s name in the transcripts.
The FBI investigated Flynn, but found no evidence of any wrongdoing. The agency prepared to close the case, but senior officials decided to keep it open, ostensibly pursuing a theory that Flynn had violated the Logan Act, an obscure, centuries-old law that prohibits private citizens from conducting diplomacy, and which has never been prosecuted successfully.
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