- Oct 20, 2019
- Reaction score
As expected, Trump has officially pardoned his transition team national security advisor Michael Flynn:
President Trump announced Wednesday that he's pardoning Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser who twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts with Russia. Ben Tracy has details. Continue reading...
Now is a good time to re-up my article from earlier this year outlining some of the reasons Flynn‘s legal problems were also problems for Trump, and why Trump was trying to use the DOJ via Bill Barr to exonerate him (I tried to turn the article itself into a thread, but my tech skills are lacking):
By Taylor Bassett - Staff Writer | @bassett_taylor | MadAboutPolitics.com Yesterday, US Attorney General Bill Barr directed the DOJ to dismiss charges against Trump advisor Michael Flynn that he's already pled guilty to. Barr's history of using the DOJ to undermine prosecutions of Trump...
To summarize how we got here, Flynn pled guilty to the felony charge of making false statements to federal investigators who were looking into his Russia ties during the 2016 campaign, as well as during Obama-Trump transition. It was expected that Flynn would receive leniency in exchange for cooperation with the feds in the investigation. Because of the heartburn this cooperation caused for Trump, Trump began sending clear signals to Flynn that he would be rewarded for not cooperating. In response, Flynn suddenly shifted his legal strategy, firing his lawyers and hiring a right wing conspiracy theorist, Sidney Powell, to represent him. Powell immediately began claiming that Flynn‘s prosecution was unfair and politically motivated, greasing the skids for the Trump-controlled DOJ to let him off the hook.
Plan A for Trump/Barr was to have the DOJ dismiss the case against Flynn. The DOJ filed an unprecedented motion to dismiss its case against Flynn, but because Flynn had already pled guilty, there was an ensuing legal battle over whether decisions on Flynn’s case was still in the hands of the executive (DOJ), or the judiciary (the federal judge and appeals courts presiding over Flynn’s case). There were also questions over whether there was improper political influence in the DOJ that led to the unique reversal of its decision to prosecute Flynn. Without getting further into the weeds of the status of that legal battle, the DOJ’s motion to dismiss was, as of yesterday’s pardon of Flynn, still pending, in front of a judge who seemed inclined to deny it and move forward with sentencing Flynn.
Plan B for Trump/Barr was to have the legal battle over Flynn’s case become politically divisive enough to provide cover for a Trump pardon, which was inevitable if Plan A failed. That’s where we are now. Trump certainly anticipated and hoped he’d still be president by this point, but since he knows he won’t be, his time to get Flynn off the hook is dwindling. The bright side here is that it’s clear Trump knows he’ll be evicted soon despite his host of pending nonsensical legal challenges to election results.
There are many remaining questions about the implications of a Flynn pardon that I won’t get into in this post — including whether Trump is able to effectively avoid legal jeopardy via this pardon of Flynn. I continue to believe Flynn is as close to a traitor as anyone in the Trump-Russia saga, and Trump’s behavior toward him has always been predictable in light of that fact.
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