President Donald Trump is reportedly considering plans to pardon former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his conversations with a Russian diplomat, as the president prepares to leave the White House in January. As first reported by Axios, then confirmed by the New York Times and CNN, sources close to discussions about the potential pardons said Flynn and his aides are likely to receive clemency, with CNN reporting George Papadopoulos and Paul Manafort are also being considered for a pardon. Trump has reportedly not made up his mind completely.
Flynn has twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his meeting with a Russian diplomat during the presidential transition in 2016 and 2017, which was a part of the agency's probe into Russian meddling into the 2016 presidential election. In May, the Justice Department pushed to withdraw the charges from the case, and prior to that, Flynn attempted to withdraw his guilty plea and accused the FBI of entrapment. Flynn's case is now in the hands of a federal court and his attorney, Sidney Powell, who was recently removed from the Trump campaign's legal team after her unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud and a vast voting conspiracy.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fl.) backed Trump's reported plans to pardon Flynn on Fox News Tuesday night, saying, "President Trump should pardon Michael Flynn. He should pardon the Thanksgiving turkey. He should pardon everyone from himself to administration officials to Joe Exotic if he has to." Gaetz also accused the "radical left" of a "blood lust" towards government officials connected to the Trump White House.
Matt Gaetz: President Trump should pardon Michael Flynn. He should pardon the Thanksgiving turkey. He should pardon everyone from himself to administration officials to Joe Exotic if he has to... pic.twitter.com/ArmRnvd2MU— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) November 25, 2020
Trump has already commuted the sentence of Roger Stone Jr., a political associate involved in the Russia investigation who was convicted on seven felony counts and sentenced to a 40-month term in federal prison. Kim Kardashian has also successfully lobbied for a pardon for Alice Johnson, who served 21 years on a low-level drug conviction, and the president has also commuted the sentences of Joe Arpaio, a former Arizona sheriff involved in a number of racism scandals convicted of criminal contempt of court; Dinesh D'Souza, a right-wing commentator who pleaded guilty to making an illegal campaign contribution to a 2012 U.S. Senate campaign, and Michael Milken, a financier convicted of securities fraud.