The President announced on Wednesday that he granted three-star General Michael Flynn a full pardon. Although Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell had worked hard to get his guilty plea overturned, Judge Emmett Sullivan continued to block that plan in spite of the higher court’s determination that the case should be dismissed.
The pardon brings an end to ‘righting a wrong’ to charges that now look like they never should have been brought in the first place.
A little backstory to the bizarre legal saga.
Lt. Gen. Flynn served 33-years in the U.S. Army and retired as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014. He then started his own consulting firm and in 2016 began advising then-candidate Donald Trump.
When Trump took office in 2017, Flynn was appointed as national security adviser to the new president.
24 days into his new role, he was ambushed by two FBI agents who questioned him about a 2016 conversation Flynn had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. After the interview, the FVI agents accused Flynn of lying about his conversation with Kislyak.
Sally Yates, the former deputy attorney general in the Obama administration, told Congress charges were brought because Flynn violated the Logan Act by holding that conversation.
The Logan Act is a 200-year-old federal law that criminalizes negotiation by unauthorized American citizens with foreign governments having a dispute with the United States.
There have only been two attempts to prosecute anyone under the law, the last was in 1852. Neither attempt was successful.
‘Michael Flynn was a useful tool for everyone and everything but justice: Mueller, the media, even the court,” said Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turely. “What is left in the wake of the prosecution is an utter travesty of justice.”
Turely who describes himself as a liberal pointed out that there was nothing illegal about Flynn communicating with Russian officials and said it was “utterly absurd” to sue the Logan Act in this case.
Moreover, we now know the FBI deliberately set up Gen Flynn in a scheme to destroy Flynn and ultimately Trump.
Documents released by the DOJ include a handwritten note from a meeting between Comey and McCabe on January 24, 2017 where they admit they were trying to trap Flynn.
Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute [Flynn] or get him fired?”
“We regularly show subjects evidence with the goal of getting them to reveal their wrongdoing.”
How to warn Flynn about lying? “Just casually slip that in.”
These documents show that Flynn was treated unfairly and perhaps unethically. While Flynn did plead guilty, the DOJ recognized that “he did so without full awareness of the circumstances of the newly, discovered, disclosed, or declassified information as to the FBI’s investigation of him.” The DOJ added that it has no “interest in penalizing a defendant for a crime that it is not satisfied occurred.”
In a statement on Wednesday, Flynn’s family said they were grateful to Trump for “answering our prayers, and the prayers of a nation, by removing the heavy burden of injustice off the shoulders of our brother Michael, with a full pardon of innocence.”