Trump’s Mike Flynn pardon is the talk of DC: ‘He should pardon everyone from himself … to Joe Exotic’
President Trump has reportedly told numerous confidants in his orbit that he intends to pardon former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, one in a series of pardons to be issued before he leaves office. Two sources with allegedly direct knowledge were cited in the revelation by Axios on Tuesday. Fox News, CNN, and Reuters also learned of the pardon from sources.
On Fox News Tuesday night, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) supported the president’s reported plans, stating: “President Trump should pardon Michael Flynn. He should pardon the Thanksgiving turkey. He should pardon everyone from himself to administration officials to Joe Exotic if he has to.” Gaetz then accused the “radical left” of harboring a “blood lust” for officials who have worked for the Trump administration.
Flynn has been mired in legal quicksand during Trump’s entire tenure as president. He pleaded guilty in December 2017 to misleading the FBI about his contact with Russia but later attempted to withdraw his plea saying he was duped and pressured into the plea. Conservatives have rallied around his cause over the abuse of power by the Justice Department displayed in the case and the Russia investigation in general. They consider this entrapment and the Mueller Report as being highly suspect.
Despite two guilty pleas from Flynn, the prosecution came under scrutiny after the release of FBI documents that indicated there was a plot to trick Flynn into lying. “What is our goal?” read one of the FBI’s notes. “Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?”
After that was revealed, the Justice Department moved to drop its case and all charges against Flynn but has since encountered hurdles in court. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected in August Flynn’s plea to force a federal judge to drop his criminal case.
A federal prosecutor appointed to review the case by Attorney General Bill Barr recommended that the charges be dropped, finding that the FBI interview in which Flynn lied was “conducted without any legitimate investigative basis.”
In September, Flynn and the Justice Department returned to court for the first time in months to argue his case should be dismissed. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, however, had previously made clear that he might consider sentencing Flynn for his lies regardless of the charges having been dropped. Sullivan is a liberal judge and is outwardly biased against Flynn. Arguments have been made to remove him as the sitting judge in the case to no avail so far.
In a major hearing where Flynn appeared before Sullivan, the judge grew so incensed with Flynn’s alleged crimes and legal approach that he questioned whether the former national security adviser could have been charged with treason. Prosecutors said no he can’t.
Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, reportedly said she requested that Trump not issue a pardon as she believes her client should be found innocent of all charges, but the president publicly has been very sympathetic to Flynn’s cause and will most likely issue a pardon as a protective move for Flynn.
“What happened to General Michael Flynn, a war hero, should never be allowed to happen to a citizen of the United States again!” Trump tweeted in April.
What happened to General Michael Flynn, a war hero, should never be allowed to happen to a citizen of the United States again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 30, 2020
Trump’s pardon of Flynn would take the matter out of the hands of the courts and of a Biden-controlled Justice Department. These same sources cautioned that Trump could change his mind about making such a move. Others who may be under consideration for a pardon are George Papadopoulos and Paul Manafort.