Retired General Michael Flynn’s pardon is eliciting expected responses from the left and the right. The left criticized the pardon as an attempt to protect the President while the right lauded it as vindication of a wrongfully-convicted person.
President Trump pardoned his former National Security Advisor, retired General Michael Flynn, on Wednesday afternoon. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators in relation to unfounded allegations of collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and the Russian government.
- NPR reports the Department of Justice was not consulted.
- Prior to being named Trump’s National Security Advisor, Flynn briefly spent time in the private sector after a long career in the military that culminated in his forced retirement after butting heads with colleagues and White House officials while he served as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
- The case in which Flynn pleaded guilty has been mired in public scrutiny and controversy, as DOJ officials sought to dismiss the case even after Flynn’s guilty plea, who argued Flynn never should have been investigated in the first place.
- Flynn is the second Trump ally to receive a reprieve related to the Russian collusion investigation, as Roger Stone’s sentence was commuted earlier this year.
- News of Trump considering a pardon for Flynn started circulating the previous day, and the President announced it on Twitter Wednesday.
- Flynn has recently been represented by attorney Sidney Powell, who has also become involved in President Trump’s legal efforts to challenge certain results of the 2020 presidential election, before being disavowed earlier this week.
- Speculation is now growing as to whom President Trump may next grant pardons, a power permitted to the President by Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution.
- The New York Times’ reporting discussed the legal drama of DOJ’s attempt to drop the case, noting the presiding judge asked for an independent analysis of the Department’s request.
- An opinion piece published by The Atlantic claims the Flynn pardon has more to do with Trump attempting to inoculate himself from potential prosecution than to right a wrong done to Gen. Flynn, and that the reason he, along with former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, were not forthcoming was the result of being “not in the loop” on the author’s unproven allegations of contact between Trump and Russians.
- The Washington Post Editorial Board decried the pardon, calling it a “disgrace.”
- Fox News reported on the White House’s post-pardon statement that said Flynn “should have never been prosecuted.”
- The Daily Caller followed Fox News’ lead in reporting on developments in the case after Flynn’s guilty plea, writing that the investigation of Flynn was being wound down until given a final attempt to catch Flynn lying in the last days of the Obama administration.
- The Federalist characterized the treatment of Flynn as a “persecution” of the “Russia Hoax”, and reported the DOJ found FBI agents had withheld “substantial exculpatory evidence” from Flynn and his attorneys during the prosecution.
© Dallas Gerber, 2020