Pardon for former confidante: Trump jumps aside Flynn

Pardon for former confidante: Trump jumps aside Flynn
Pardon for former confidante: Trump jumps aside Flynn
Der ehemalige Nationale Sicherheitsberater von Donald , Michael Flynn.

© SAUL LOEB

Washington – US President Donald Trump has pardoned his ex-security advisor Michael Flynn, exposing himself to abuse of power. “It is my great honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has received a full pardon,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday. The retired general was caught up in the affair of possible Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. Leading Democrats in the US Congress reacted indignantly.

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Republican Trump could pardon other people before the end of his term on January 20. Former presidents such as Democrat Barack Obama exercised this right right up to their last day in office.

Flynn had only served a little over three weeks as National Security Advisor in the White House in 2017. He later admitted in the course of the investigation into the Russia affair that he lied to the Federal Police FBI. He is also said to have lied to Vice President Mike Pence. Flynn pleaded guilty to the investigation by FBI special investigator Robert Mueller.

The pardon is also controversial because US President Donald Trump himself was targeted by investigators in the cause. A team around special investigator Robert Mueller investigated allegations against Trump at the time. Including the allegation of abuse of office and obstruction of justice because Trump is said to have asked the then FBI boss James Comey to stop the investigation against Flynn. Mueller’s later report found no evidence of a targeted collusion between the Trump team and Russia, but explicitly did not acquit the president of other allegations.

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Flynn wanted to withdraw confession

In January, Flynn applied to withdraw his confession shortly before a verdict was expected in his trial. In May, the Ministry of Justice called for an end to the proceedings in a highly unusual step. One was not convinced that the hearing of Flynn in January 2017 was based on a legitimate investigation, it said, among other things. Trump then hailed Flynn as a “hero”.

The case was stuck in a federal court after the controversial move by the Justice Department. The judge responsible there had not agreed to drop the allegations against Flynn.

The possibility of Trump pardoning his confidante has long been in the room. In March the President announced that he was seriously considering a “full pardon”. According to Trump, Flynn was treated unfairly by the judiciary and the FBI. He repeatedly complained that Flynn had been persecuted by the judiciary. “You accused Flynn of lying, and he didn’t lie,” Trump said in an interview around October. In his words, the Russia investigation was a pure “witch hunt”.

Before the November 3 presidential election, the legal battle in the Flynn case came back on the agenda: Republicans sought to mobilize supporters by portraying an establishment conspiracy against Trump.

Trump spokeswoman calls Flynn “innocent” despite confession

A similar tenor had a statement by Trump’s spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany on Wednesday: “General Flynn should not need a pardon. He is an innocent man.” He was said to have become the “victim of partisan government officials” who tried to undermine the 2016 election. McEnany accused employees of the administration of ex-President Barack Obama of having thwarted a “peaceful transfer of power” to his successor.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows referred to Flynn as an “American patriot” on Twitter. “What the left has done to him and his family over the past four years must never be allowed in America again.” Trump himself tweeted hours after Flynn’s pardon: “Have a wonderful life, General Flynn!”

Democrats smell new abuse of office by Trump

Leading Democrats responded with outrage. Nancy Pelosi, the spokeswoman for the House of Representatives, accused Trump of abuse of power in favor of a convicted criminal: “Flynn’s actions have represented a serious and dangerous violation of our national security.” The pardon is further proof that Trump does not respect the rule of law.

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US House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff wrote on Twitter: “Donald Trump has repeatedly abused his pardon to reward friends and protect those who have covered him.” Then the Democrat added: “Corrupt to the end.” Judiciary Committee chairman, his party colleague Jerrold Nadler, said the pardon was “undeserved, unprincipled and another stain on President Trump’s rapidly dwindling legacy.”

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Mueller initially did not comment on the pardon according to US media reports. The Washington Post According to Andrew Weissmann, a former member of the special investigator’s team, responded with the words: “Trump’s abuse of the pardon is undermining the crown jewel of our democracy: the rule of law.”

Flynn himself tweeted a picture of the US flag on Twitter shortly before Trump’s announcement and wrote: “Jeremiah 1:19”. The Bible verse says: “May they fight you, they will not conquer you; for I am with you to save you – sayings of the Lord.” (TT.com, WHAT, dpa)

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