President Donald Trump on Wednesday issued a decree pardoning his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to perjury to FBI agents during an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Flynn’s pardon, which may not be the only such action on the part of the president, has sparked strong discontent among Democrats.
Retired General Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to perjury to FBI agents who questioned him about his contacts with the former Russian ambassador to the United States in the weeks leading up to Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.
Since then, Flynn has tried to refuse to plead guilty, claiming that the prosecutor’s office violated his rights and fraudulently entered into a plea agreement with him. Flynn’s sentencing date has been postponed several times.
“I am honored to announce that General Michael Flynn has been fully pardoned. Congratulations to (General Flynn) and his wonderful family. I am confident that now you will celebrate a truly fantastic Thanksgiving Day, ”the President himself commented on Flynn’s pardon on his Twitter on Wednesday night, the eve of Thanksgiving Day.
Since taking office, the president has pardoned several people, including military personnel accused of war crimes in Afghanistan and former Sheriff Joe Arpayo of Arizona, who is one of the supporters of the extremely tough fight against illegal immigration.
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, issued a statement immediately, calling President Trump’s actions “an act of serious corruption and blatant abuse of power.”
“Unfortunately, this pardon is further evidence that Trump plans to use his last days in office to undermine the rule of law after his failed presidency,” Pelosi said.
Democrat Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, called Flynn’s pardon “an undeserved, unprincipled, yet another stain on President Trump’s rapidly shrinking political legacy.”
Flynn managed to work as Trump’s national security adviser for just 24 days, after which the president fired him for lying in an interview with Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Sergei Kislyak, who was then Russia’s ambassador to the United States.