President Donald Trump on Wednesday issued a full presidential pardon for former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to FBI investigators about his interaction with Russian contacts during Trump’s 2016 transition to the White House.
Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general who led the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014, is the latest in a series of controversial clemency moves by Trump. Numerous administration sources have said that Trump is considering more in the waning days of his presidency.
On Wednesday, Trump announced the pardon on Twitter, calling the move a “great honor” and adding that " I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!”
In December 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to felony charges of making false statements to the FBI as part of a deal to cooperate with then special counsel Robert Mueller. Earlier this year, the Department of Justice announced plans to drop those charges, but a federal judge kept them in place pending review.
Trump’s actions on Friday appeared to wipe clean Flynn’s criminal record.
Flynn was fired from his job in the Trump administration in February 2017. Trump has given several different public explanations for the move in recent years, including references to his lying to the FBI and to Vice President Mike Pence.
But the president has also defended Flynn and decried the criminal charges against him.
Flynn served in the Army for 33 years before he was dismissed from his DIA post by then president Barack Obama, following allegations of abusive leadership tactics and insubordination.
A top Senate Democrat says pardons, forgiveness should not have been given to service members embroiled in three controversial cases.