Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s family has issued a statement expressing their profuse gratitude to President Donald Trump for pardoning him.
Trump on Wednesday pardoned Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his calls with the Russian ambassador, only to later seek to withdraw the plea.
‘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. ‘Have a great life General Flynn!’
‘We are forever appreciative to President Trump for giving back to Michael his freedom in undoing a hideous wrong,’ Flynn’s family said in a statement shared on his Twitter account.
‘Let it be heard across this great country and around the world that tyranny will not topple us. Masks will not silence us. Threats will not stop us. Evil will not triumph. We are Americans,’ the statement added.
Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, also thanked Trump and called the case against Flynn ‘one of the most egregious injustices I’ve witnessed in American history.’
‘Enough was enough. We had passed the point of proving General Flynn’s innocence, all of the evidence we’ve gotten since I joined the case shows that, and it was high time that he be exonerated of all these charges,’ Powell told Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs.
President Trump says he has pardoned Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser. Flynn is seen above with his lawyer Sidney Powell in September
Flynn’s family issued this statement which he shared on Twitter
Separately, Powell has promised to ‘release the Kraken’ before midnight on Wednesday by filing a lawsuit alleging massive voter fraud in Georgia. She was released from Trump’s campaign legal team last week but is continuing the fight independently.
Trump announced Flynn’s pardon minutes after calling into a hearing-style event where he said he ‘won’ the election and called for it to be ‘overturned.’
Flynn is the second Russia probe figure to get relief, after longtime Trump advisor Roger Stone, who avoided jail time after Trump granted him clemency.
Trump has long championed Flynn and used his prosecution to make the case that the FBI ‘spied’ on his campaign – although back in 2017 he fired Flynn after just weeks on the job after it was revealed he did not disclose his contacts with Russia’s former ambassador to the U.S. to Vice President Mike Pence.
In a tweet almost three years ago – long before the Mueller probe Flynn cooperated with would wrap up and the House would impeach him, Trump wrote: ‘I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!’
Flynn was on the job for just 24 days before Trump fired him.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigator would later speak to his utility and cooperation in their investigation of the Russia probe.
The information he lied about concerned his contacts with then Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.
Flynn would later admit he lied when he denied talking to Kislyak about sanctions imposed by the outgoing Obama administration on Russia for election interference.
‘It’s no surprise that Trump would go out just as he came in – crooked to the end,’ tweeted Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
Federal prosecutors at first sought leniency, but ultimately sought up to six months in jail time after Flynn asserted prosecutorial misconduct and would later seek to reverse his plea.
‘It is clear 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,’ according to a federal filing.
‘It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon,’ Trump tweeted on Wednesday
President Trump pardoned former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn on Wednesday
Trump announced the pardon Wednesday
Three years ago Trump tweeted about firing Flynn
Flynn referenced a bible verse: ”And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee, for I am with thee,’ saith the Lord, ‘to deliver thee’
Flynn tagged family members and his legal team as he cited a Bible verse that reads: ‘But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible’
Even after Flynn’s change of course, Judge Emmett Sullivan sought to probe the issue and brought on an outside advocate to make the case against after the government no longer sought prosecution.
He had yet to issue a final decision on the matter.
A three-judge panel ordered Judge Sullivan to dismiss the case, but that ruling got overturned on appeal to the full circuit.
Flynn’s lawyer as he sought to change course, Sidney Powell, told the judge she had discussed the case with Trump.
As it turns out, Trump’s campaign announced days ago that Powell was not representing the Trump campaign – although she appeared at a bizarre press conference last Thursday with Rudy Giuliani alleging voter fraud.
Flynn tweeted a Bible verse in response.
‘Jeremiah 1:19,’ he wrote. The Bible verse says: ”And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee, for I am with thee,’ saith the Lord, ‘to deliver thee.’
He referenced other Bible verses in separate tweets, including Matthew 19:26: ‘But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.’
Said Adam Bookbinder of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington: ‘President Trump once again showed that he will abuse the powers of his office until his very last day in the White House. Pardon power was not meant to be used to let the president’s friends and allies off the hook or give a free pass to those who could potentially implicate him. This once again shows that to Donald Trump, ‘law and order’ does not apply to his wealthy white allies, it was merely a racist dog whistle meant to win him political support.’
With talk of a pardon bubbling, Schiff, the House Intelligence Chairman, on Wednesday compared Trump to a mob boss.
‘Imagine what people around the world think when we have a president who’s acting like an organized crime figure,’ Schiff said.
‘But this is who Donald Trump is. It’s who he was on the way into the presidency. It will be exactly who he is on his last days of the presidency,’ he told CNN.
He said Trump’s conduct ‘reflects so ill on our democracy, on the United States.’
He made the comments as Trump sent a signal forecasting that he might act soon, retweeting author Svetlana Lohhova, who had put up a tweet Tuesday night complaining about the pace of the Flynn case.
‘Judge Sullivan was supposed to proceed ‘with dispatch’ (in a quick and efficient way) in Gen Flynn’s case. Three months have passed since…’ she wrote.
Lokhova, a Russia-born academic, was among a group of people who met with Flynn at the University of Cambridge in the UK in an encounter that had people on the internet accusing her of being part of a honeytrap organized by Russia.
She has vociferously denied being a spy. ‘Absolutely not,’ she told the BBC. ‘I have no formal or informal connection with Russian intelligence whatsoever.’ The meeting gained scrutiny after Trump fired Flynn after just days on the job in 2017. The dinner involved a former top British intelligence official and Flynn, who was then the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Schiff spoke a day after the network reported a pardon for Flynn and others was under consideration, potentially soon.
On Monday, the Trump Administration finally issued an ascertainment allowing the transition to begin, moving Trump toward lame duck status, although he continues to say the election was ‘rigged’ and is pursuing legal efforts.
Democrat Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Chairman, compared Trump to a mob boss
Schiff compared Trump to a mob boss. This undated file photo shows Mafia Boss John Gotti, aka ‘The Dapper Don,’ right, with Sammy ‘The Bull’ Gravano
Schiff accused Trump of seeking to reward people who ‘lie on his behalf.’ The movie ‘The Godfather: Part II’, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, delved into the code of ‘omerta,’ where mafia members would protect the boss at great personal cost
Trump also took part in the traditional pardoning of the national Thanksgiving turkey on Tuesday.
Flynn originally pleaded guilty to lying to FBI about his Russia contacts, then reversed course and sought to have the charges thrown out, which Bill Barr’s Justice Department ultimately moved to do.
He is now represented by Sidney Powell, the former Trump campaign lawyer who the campaign now says is not part of the team, who vowed to unleash ‘the Kraken’ and put forth bizarre conspiracy theories about about vote-rigging in the U.S. election connected to Venezuela, China and Cuba.
Trump has long said he believed Flynn was mistreated, and claims the FBI ‘spied’ on his 2016 campaign.
Schiff’s mob reference came a day after a throw-back bust of Philadelphia mob figures, with a grand jury indictment that mentioned Anthony ‘Tony Meatballs’ Gifoli, 72 and alleged underboss underboss Steven ‘Stevie’ Mazzone. The Feds alleged they took part in a heroin-dealing and loan-sharking operation.
Schiff referenced said Trump was demonstrating that ‘If you lie on his behalf, if you over up for him, he will reward you, he will protect you,’ and likened it to the mob’s code of protecting those who keep silent and punishing those who tell secrets to authorities.
A president’s pardon authority is extensive, and there has even been talk Trump could try to pardon himself.
‘With respect to Mike Flynn he may have the power to provide a pardon,’ Schiff said. Trump gave clemency to longtime political advisor Roger Stone, who was convicted of lying to Congress.
‘I will not do what this president does and use the Justice Department as my vehicle to insist that something happen,’ President-elect Joe Biden told NBC News
President-elect Joe Biden told NBC’s Lester Holt he would not push his own Justice Department to go after Trump, with some Democrats calling for probes.
‘Some Democrats want investigations go to forward against President Trump after he leaves office. Do you support that?’ Holt asked Biden.
Biden responded: ‘I will not do what this president does and use the Justice Department as my vehicle to insist that something happen.’
‘There are a number of investigations that I’ve read about that are at a state level. There’s nothing at all I can or cannot do about that,’ he added.
An official statement by White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany blamed the media and the Obama administration, and said Flynn never should have been prosecuted.
‘After the 2016 election, individuals within the outgoing administration refused to accept the choice the American people had made at the ballot box and worked to undermine the peaceful transition of power. These efforts were enabled by a complicit media that willingly published falsehoods and hid inconvenient facts from public view, including with respect to General Flynn. They amounted to a brazen assault on our democracy and a direct attack on our fundamental political values.’
It calls Flynn an ‘innocent man and an American hero.’
Said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a statement: ‘Trump is again using the pardon power to protect those who lie to cover up his wrongdoing, just as he did when he commuted the sentence of campaign advisor Roger Stone, who was convicted on seven felony counts.’
THE MIKE FLYNN SAGA: HOW TRUMP APPOINTEE BECAME INCENDIARY STORY
Mike Pence was a career Army intelligence officer who served in Afghanistan and Iraq and was still in uniform as a three-star general when he became Barack Obama’s head of Defense Intelligence in July 2012.
But he fell out badly with the Obama administration, was forced out in July 2014 and moved into private intelligence consulting.
December 10: Flynn is paid to travel to Moscow and sits beside Vladimir Putin at dinner celebrating propaganda outlet RT (right). His consulting business has Russian clients
February: Flynn signs up to provide national security advice to the Trump campaign; in the next few months he is floated as a possible running mate
July 20 : Flynn leads ‘lock her up’ chants at the Republican National Convention and claims Obama concealed the actions of Osama bin Laden
July 31: FBI open counter-intelligence investigation Crossfire Hurricane into group of Trump aides, including Flynn, for possible Russian influence. In 2014 an FBI informer had told agents he saw Flynn spending time at a dinner in the UK with a Russian woman with ties to Kremlin intelligence; the information is included in their investigation. Flynn is code-named Crossfire Razor
November 4: Trump wins the election, and meets Obama who advises him not to hire Flynn. Trump ignores the advice and makes him national security adviser designate
November 30: Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, makes the first of what will be 48 requests by Obama and Obama-eras officials to ‘unmask’ a redaction from intelligence reports which covers up Flynn’s name
Flynn meets Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak (right) at Trump Tower and exchanges calls and messages throughout the month.
December 29: Hours after Obama announces sanctions on Russia for election interference, they speak and Flynn says it will be ‘reviewed’ when Trump takes power. The call is heard by intelligence agents who monitor Kisylak’s calls and details are included in intelligence reports. The next day Putin says Russia won’t retaliate for the sanctions
January 4: FBI drafts report saying there is ‘no derogatory information on RAZOR [Flynn].’ But 20 minutes later FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok tells case agent ‘don’t close RAZOR,’ and ‘7th floor involved’ meaning FBI leadership. He also emails lover Lisa Page, a senior FBI lawyer, about the Logan Act – a never-enforced 1799 law banning private people from interfering in foreign relations. ‘Razor still open,’ he writes and calls news ‘serendipitously good’. ‘Phew, but yeah, that’s amazing that he is still open. Good I guess,’ Page replies. Strzok respond: ‘Yeah, our utter incompetence actually helps us. 20% of the time I’m guessing :)’
January 5: Obama holds Oval Office briefing on Russian election interference with Joe Biden, CIA director John Brennan, FBI director James Comey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and deputy attorney general Sally Yates. He asks Comey and Yates to stay behind and says he has ‘learned of the information’ about Flynn’s call to Kislyak. Comey mentions the Logan Act
January 6: Obama’s top intel figures – Brennan, Clapper and Comey – give the Trump team including Trump a briefing on Russia at Trump Tower
January 10: Joe Biden is most senior Obama official to request an ‘unmasking’ of an intelligence report which reveals Flynn’s name
January 12: Bombshell Washington Post report reveals Flynn’s call to Kislyak on December 29, ‘according to a senior U.S. government official’ saying: ‘What did Flynn say, and did it undercut the U.S. sanctions?’ It mentions the Logan Act
January 14: Flynn tells Pence he did not discuss sanctions; in coming days Trump officials repeat this on television – including Mike Pence the following day
January 20: Trump is inaugurated; Flynn becomes national security advisor
January 22: The Wall Street Journal reveals Flynn is subject to a counter-intelligence investigation over links to Russia
January 23: Strzok and Andrew McCabe the FBI Deputy director exchange messages planning to interview Flynn
January 24: Two FBI agents – Peter Strzok and one whose name remains secret – go to the White House and interview Flynn in his West Wing office. Their notes say he denies talking about sanctions with Kislyak and said ‘if I did I don’t remember’
January 26 and 27: Yates tells White House counsel Don McGahn that Flynn has lied to Mike Pence and other officials, is therefore compromised, could be blackmailed by Russia, and other aspects of his conduct are worrying which she can’t tell McGahn because they are classified
January 28: Flynn sits in the Oval Office to take part in Trump’s first call with Putin
February 9: Washington Post reveals Flynn did discuss sanctions and publishes interview in which he repeats denial ‘categorically.’ After the story is published, he tells the newspaper a different version – that he may have discussed sanctions
February 10 and 11: Trump says he will ‘look into’ Flynn but the aide is at Mar-a-Lago dinner with Shinzo Abe
February 13: Washington Post reveals that McGahn was warned about Flynn by Yates. Flynn resigns admitting he ‘inadvertently’ misled Pence, prompting Pence to mislead on Face the Nation in January
February 14: Trump meets Comey and says Flynn is ‘a good guy’ and ‘I hope you can see your way to letting this go.’
March 30: Flynn offers to testify to Congress – at the time both House and Senate are Republican-controlled – or the FBI on Trump-Russia in exchange for immunity from prosecution; nobody takes up the deal offer
May 9: Trump fires Comey, and on May 17 Robert Mueller is appointed special counsel
May 10: Senate Intel Committee subpoena Flynn for his contacts with Russia; he cites Fifth Amendment; they later subpoena in more detail, and by early June he turns over documents voluntarily
November 5: Mueller’s investigators revealed to be ready to indict Flynn and his son Michael Jr. on multiple charges. They are looking at his foreign lobbying and even whether he plotted to kidnap a Turkish cleric from the U.S. and deliver him to Turkey – but are also wiling to strike a deal to let his son off if he flips
November 16: Mueller team interview Flynn for first time
November 22: Flynn withdraws from ‘joint defense deal’ with Trump, suggesting a deal is in the works
December 1: Flynn signs a plea deal with Mueller; he will plead guilty to lying to the FBI at the White House interview. In exchange his son gets out of charges, and Flynn himself escapes charges of failing to register his lobbying for foreign entities. He appears in court and admits under oath lying to the FBI and affirms that he understands the deal. ‘I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong, and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right,’ he says. The White House says: ‘The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year.’
December 2: Trump tweets: ‘I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI’
January: Flynn is repeatedly interviewed as he cooperates with Mueller and sentencing is repeatedly deferred
June 7: Obama deputy national security advisor reveals in book that Obama administration first learned of Flynn’s December 2016 communications with Kislyak from Trump transition team members and not from ‘unmasking’ his name in intelligence reports
December 18: Flynn appears in court for sentencing hearing; Mueller’s recommendation is little or no jail time. But Judge Emmet Sullivan says ‘arguably you sold your country out’ and asks why he was not charged with ‘treason.’ Sentencing is deferred
June 12: Flynn fires Covington & Burling, his white shoe law firm, and hires new lawyer Sidney Powell, who had told him on Fox News to ditch his plea deal
August 30: Flynn files motion accusing prosecutors of conning him into a guilty plea by withholding exculpatory material while other parts of the government trying to ‘smear’ him as a Russian agent
December 16: Judge rejects Flynn’s motion after reviewing Intel Inspector General report into the FBI and DOJ actions before the 2016 election and sets sentencing date for January 28
January 7: Prosecutors say they want up to six months for Flynn; a week later he files to ask to withdraw his guilty plea ‘because of the government’s bad faith, vindictiveness, and breach of the plea agreement.’ A week later he asks for probation if he can’t get out of his deal. Sentencing is deferred until February 20
Attorney General Bill Barr appoints political appointee Jeffrey Jensen, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, to examine Flynn’s prosecution
New notes released by Jensen show Strzok discussing keeping Flynn as a target on January 4 2017. They also show an unnamed FBI official’s notes from around the interview with Flynn on January 24 2017, saying: ‘What is our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?’ Trump starts a tweet storm which lasts into the next day, saying: ‘What happened to General Michael Flynn, a war hero, should never be allowed to happen to a citizen of the United States again!’
Department of Justice says it is withdrawing support for prosecuting Flynn saying the interview in the West Wing was ‘untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn’ and that it was ‘conducted without any legitimate investigative basis.’ But career prosecutors who have led the case quit just before the move is announced
Judge Emmet Sullivan puts a hold on prosecutors dropping the case and the next day appoints a ‘friend of the court,’ former Mafia prosecutor and retired federal judge John Gleeson to argue against the DOJ’s motion to dismiss, causing uproar among Flynn’s supporters
A series of senior Obama officials are named as having asked for ‘unmaskings’ of intelligence reports which resulted in Flynn’s name being uncovered, in newly-declassified documents. But it later emerges intelligence report of his call to Kislyak used his full name so people with access to it could understand who the Russian was speaking to, which also means leaking his name is not a crime
Three-judge appeals panel orders Judge Sullivan to explain legal basis for not accepting prosecution request to drop Flynn’s conviction
FBI director Christopher Wray launches ‘after-action review’ of bureau’s investigation
Federal appeals judges rule 2-1 that Sullivan has to dismiss the case. Trump takes a victory lap, tweeting ‘Great!’
Flynn tweets a video of himself taking ‘the oath,’ a bizarre ceremony linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory, which ends the Oath of Allegiance by saying ‘where we go one, we go all,’ a QAnon slogan
Judge Sullivan asks the entire D.C. appeals circuit to hear the case ‘en banc’ and overturn the order to dismiss. An unnamed member of the appeals circuit made the same request and the judges voted to hear it ‘en banc’ August 31, legally ignoring Sullivan’s request
Entire D.C. appeals circuit rules against Flynn, sending the case back to Sullivan and allowing him to hold an inquiry into DOJ handling of the prosecution
Sullivan holds hearing where Flynn’s lawyer reveals she briefed Donald Trump personally on the case and asked him not to pardon her client
President Trump announces the night before Thanksgiving he has granted Flynn a ‘Full Pardon,’ calling it a ‘Great Honor’ and wishing him and his family ‘Congratulations’