U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday apologized to his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, for pleading guilty to lying to the FBI in an investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election.
“It is my great honor to announce that a full apology has been granted to General Michael T. Flynn. Congratulations to En Jenflin and his wonderful family, I know you will have a truly wonderful Thanksgiving now!” Trump said on Twitter.
General Michael T. It is my great honor to announce that a full apology has been granted to Flynn. Congratulations En Genflin And his wonderful family, I know you will have a really wonderful Thanksgiving now!
– Donald J. Trump (realDonaldTrump) November 25, 2020
Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to making false statements to the FBI about his 2016 contacts with former US Ambassador to Russia Sergei Kislyak. When Obama was president, Flynn and Kislak discussed moderating the Moscow response to sanctions imposed by former President Barack Obama when Trump was elected president.
Special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed in 2017 to investigate allegations of Russian interference in the US election, one of his first actions being to prosecute Flynn, and then to imprison Flynn in 2019 as part of a petition agreement to reduce his involvement in the investigation until 2019.
In January of this year, Flynn was asked to plead guilty weeks before facing sentence.
In May, a motion was filed to drop the charges against Attorney General William Barr Flynn, a move rejected by U.S. District Justice Emmett Sullivan – who appointed a former judge to argue against the dismissal.
The case is pending.
Flynn tweeted a passage from the Bible as the news broke.
“They shall fight against you, but shall not overcome you: for I am with you, and will save you,” declares the Lord.
– General Flynn (en Genflin) November 25, 2020
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a member of the Democratic U.S. Congress, said in a tweet that “Trump has repeatedly abused the power of apology to give gifts to friends and to protect those who have hid for him.”
Donald Trump has repeatedly abused the power of apology to give gifts to friends and to protect those who have hid for him. This time he apologized to Michael Flynn for lying to hide his dealings with the Russians. No wonder Trump came in – Crook to the end.
– Adam Schiff (epRepAdamSchiff) November 25, 2020
Flynn, the second Trump aide to be convicted in the Russian investigation, has received presidential approval. Just days before he was due to report to prison, Trump rescinded the sentence of longtime loyalist Roger Stone.
Trump first met Flynn, a retired lieutenant general and former intelligence officer, in the summer of 2015. Flynn recently went on to become director of the Barack Obama-led Defense Intelligence Agency, after a two-year tenure that was “confusing” and “disruptive,” according to the Washington Post.
In 2016, Flynn officially became an adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign and was highly respected by Trump, who was considered a running colleague of Trump before Trump elected Mike Pence.
The Washington Post reported that Trump himself fell in love with his advice, and later, as a preparatory act in Trump’s campaigns, his fiery political rhetoric sank deeper into partisan politics that “moved even some of his longtime colleagues.” Flynn is best known for encouraging the Trump group to chant “lock her up” in reference to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Two days after Trump won the 2016 election, he met with Obama at the Oval Office, where Obama “forced Trump to speak clearly about Flynn,” Politico reported. Trump valued Flynn’s obedience to Obama’s warnings and named him his national security adviser anyway.
It was during that presidential transition period that Flynn made contacts with Kisliak, who later made false statements to the FBI, finally admitting his December 2017 guilt.
Trump’s apology was the first of many in his last days in the White House. Each of the recently departed presidents has apologized, some of which have been highly controversial. The difference this year is that Trump is getting off to a good start on the controversial apology process: in recent decades many presidents have defended the most controversial apology for the last day of their tenure.