President Trump may have left the door open to pardoning Michael Flynn, but said Friday he’s not ready to talk about it “yet.”
Speaking to reporters just before leaving the White House for Quantico, where he was to address the newest crop of FBI agents, Trump was asked if he was considering a pardon for Flynn. The former U.S. Marine lieutenant general pleaded guilty Dec. 1 to lying to the FBI, and so far is the biggest scalp taken by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his Russia collusion probe.
“I don’t want to talk about pardons with Michael Flynn yet.”
“I don’t want to talk about pardons with Michael Flynn yet,” Trump said. “We’ll see what happens. Let’s see. I can say this, when you look at what’s going on with the FBI and the Justice Department, people are very, very angry.”
Flynn, who was named the Trump administration’s national security adviser after serving as a surrogate for Trump during his presidential campaign and appearing at rousing rallies with Trump, had a brief tenure at the White House. He was fired after it was revealed he had lied to Vice President Pence about his contacts with Russian officials.
But Flynn had been under investigation even before Mueller’s probe over lobbying work for Turkey and other issues.
After his plea, Flynn said in a written statement, “it has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of ‘treason’ and other outrageous acts.”
However, he said, “I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong, and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right. My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel’s Office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country. I accept full responsibility for my actions.”
A source close to Flynn said financial and emotional pressure helped lead to the decision to plead guilty, rather than endure a drawn-out court battle.
Most legal experts agree that Trump has the authority to pardon Flynn, but several say it would cost him political capital.