“It is my great honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has received a full pardon,” wrote Trump on Twitter on Wednesday, and on Thursday he added: “Have a good life, General Flynn!”
The retired general was caught up in the affair of possible Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. He had to vacate his post just 22 days after Trump was sworn in in 2017. The allegations at the time: illegal agreements with Russia before Trump took office, possible blackmail, official reason: He is said to have misinformed Vice President Mike Pence. After a long legal squabble (first confession, then withdrawal), the charges were dropped by the prosecution that year, but a final decision was postponed.
Who else is Trump pardoning?
The Democrats accuse Trump of “abuse of power” because of the Flynn pardon. But the fact is: former presidents – including the Democrat Barack Obama – exercised this right right up to their last day in office.
The end of a presidential term is associated with a lot of lobbying by convicted criminals, explains the “New York Times“. And Trump, too, could pardon hundreds more people before the end of his term in office (January 20, 2021) or convert or lessen their sentence.
As the newspaper reports, there are already long lists of criminals in circulation. A team around Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner examines them.
► The offenders are currently in jail for crimes such as drug offenses (unrelated to violence), post office fraud or money laundering.
►But even in the Russia affair, further Trump advisors could expect a pardon despite the allegations still in the room: Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos, who like Flynn were at the center of the Mueller investigation.
►And among the top candidates for a pardon are close friends and companions of Trump who played key roles in making him president in the first place: including his long-time friend Roger J. Stone Jr. and Paul Manafort, his former campaign manager.
► But also: Michael D. Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, who bailed him out in the affair about the porn star Stormy Daniels and later got involved in a dirty mud fight with the US President.
►The New York Times speculated that ex-chief strategist Steve Bannon could get away with a pardon. He was arrested in August on charges of diverting more than $ 1 million in donations for personal use to build the border wall with Mexico.
►It is questionable whether Trump could even top the pardons and apply them to HIMSELF. The legality of this step is controversial among lawyers, writes the “New York Times”.
The Flynn affair in retrospect
After the Trump election in 2016, Flynn met with Russia’s US Ambassador Sergei Kislyak during the transition phase and reassured Moscow that it would not take the sanctions imposed by then-President Barack Obama so seriously.
The official reason for termination was different. Flynn had failed to inform Vice President Mike Pence of the content of his Kislyak conversation. Pence stood in front of Flynn and looked like a liar.
Flynn later admitted, in the course of the investigation into the Russia affair, that he lied to the FBI. He pleaded guilty to the investigation into Russia by FBI special envoy Robert Mueller.
Then the turning point: In January 2020, Flynn applied to withdraw his confession – shortly before a verdict was expected in his trial. In May, the Justice Ministry 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 him as a “hero”.
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