Michael Flynn departs after his sentencing was delayed at US District Court in Washington. File photo/Reuters
US President Donald Trump has told allies he plans to pardon his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, a source familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.
Trump could still change his mind on the planned pardon, which is among a number of pardons under consideration by the Republican president, the source said. The news was first reported by Axios.
Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump in US elections earlier this month, but Trump has refused to formally concede, alleging without evidence that there was widespread voter fraud. However, Trump on Monday gave the go-ahead for federal funds to start flowing to Biden so he can carry out his transition duties before his Jan.20 inauguration, according to Reuters.
If Trump does grant a reprieve to Flynn, it would be the highest-profile pardon issued by the president since he took office.
Flynn, a retired Army general, pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about interactions he had with Russia’s ambassador to the United States in the weeks before Trump took office. He has since sought to withdraw the plea, arguing prosecutors violated his rights and duped him into a plea agreement.
Flynn was one of several former Trump aides to plead guilty or be convicted at trial in former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Moscow’s interference in the 2016 US election to boost Trump’s candidacy.
Trump in March said he was strongly considering a full pardon for Flynn. He said the FBI and Justice Department had “destroyed” Flynn’s life and that of his family.
A retired Army general, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about interactions he had with Russia’s ambassador to the United States in the weeks leading up to Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.
Court action could come as soon as on Thursday or Friday, with the Democrats’ determination pointing to many more months of digging by lawmakers into Trump,
Russia’s foreign ministry on Friday dismissed the findings of the long-awaited report by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller and said it had failed to present any evidence of Russian meddling in US elections,
Even though Mueller’s findings on obstruction of justice were inconclusive, US Attorney General William Barr said in a summary released on Sunday that Mueller’s team had not found enough proof to warrant bringing charges against Trump.
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