Trump pardons former adviser Flynn, who pleaded guilty in Russia probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. 'It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T.

Reuters November 26, 2020 04:10:09 IST
Trump pardons former adviser Flynn, who pleaded guilty in Russia probe

Trump pardons former adviser Flynn who pleaded guilty in Russia probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

"It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon. Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!" Trump wrote on Twitter.

A retired Army general, Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about interactions he had with Russia’s ambassador to the United States in the weeks leading up to Trump's inauguration in January 2017.

He has since sought to withdraw the plea, arguing that prosecutors violated his rights and duped him into a plea agreement. His sentencing has been deferred several times.

It was the highest-profile pardon granted by Trump since he took office. Among others, the Republican president has pardoned Army personnel accused of war crimes in Afghanistan and Joe Arpaio, a former Arizona sheriff and hardliner against illegal immigration.

Flynn served as Trump's first national security adviser but the president fired him in early 2017 after only 24 days as a controversy broke over the former general's contacts with then Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

Flynn was one of several former Trump aides to plead guilty or be convicted at trial in former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election to boost Trump’s candidacy. Russia denied meddling.

Trump in March said he was strongly considering a full pardon for Flynn. He said the FBI and Justice Department had "destroyed" Flynn's life and that of his family, and cited an unspecified, unsubstantiated report that they had lost records related to Flynn.

Flynn was supposed to help cooperate with the government as part of his plea deal. But he later switched lawyers and tactics, arguing that prosecutors in the case had tricked him into lying about his December 2016 conversations with Kislyak.

The Justice Department has repeatedly denied allegations of prosecutorial misconduct, and U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan rejected all of Flynn’s claims in December 2019.

Federal prosecutors had asked the judge in January to sentence Flynn to up to six months in prison, arguing in a court filing that "the defendant has not learned his lesson. He has behaved as though the law does not apply to him, and as if there are no consequences for his actions."

Flynn also served as head of the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency but was forced out in 2014 in part due to his management style and opinions on how to fight Islamist militancy.

He joined the Trump 2016 election campaign and at the Republican National Convention that year he led supporters in chants of "Lock her up," in reference to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Other former Trump aides were convicted of federal crimes following the Russia inquiry. Trump's longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone was sentenced on Feb. 20 to three years and four months in prison for obstruction of justice, witness tampering and lying to lawmakers investigating the Russian election interference.

Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, was sentenced last year to 3-1/2 years in prison after being convicted of unlawful lobbying and witness tampering, which combined with a sentence in a related case equaled a term of more than seven years behind bars.

Trump, defeated in a presidential election on Nov. 3, is due to leave the White House on Jan. 20 when President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

(Reporting by Eric Beech; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Howard Goller)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.