Both Axios and The New York Times said Trump has privately told aides Flynn will benefit from a series of pardons the president will issue before he leaves office. The move would continue Trump’s trend of helping several notable supporters and associates who have been convicted of crimes during his administration. (The president also pardoned a turkey named Corn this week, as part of a White House Thanksgiving tradition.)
Flynn has pleaded guilty twice to lying to the FBI as part of its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, but his legal team asked to withdraw those pleas earlier this year in an abrupt about-face. Several months later, the Justice Department suggested the charges against Flynn be dropped in a remarkable move that prompted outrage among Democrats. But the judge in the case, Emmet Sullivan, said he wasn’t ready to do so and asked outside legal experts to weigh in.
Flynn’s legal team sued in an attempt to force Sullivan to comply with the DOJ’s order, but lost the court battle, adding to the complexity of the case. In September, one of Flynn’s lawyers told a judge she had spoken to Trump and asked the president not to pardon him. It’s unclear if that request is still on the table.
The retired general has since become a major figure for Trump supporters angered with the investigations into Trump’s presidency, claiming he was ensnared by what the White House has demeaned as the Russia “hoax.”
Earlier this year, the president commuted the sentence of Roger Stone, a longtime confidant who was convicted on seven charges including lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing a House investigation.
“Roger Stone is a victim of the Russia Hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump Presidency,” the commutation read.
The Times added Tuesday night that the plans for the pardon are not final. Presidents often use their final days in office to issue pardons for federal crimes or commutations of sentences.