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Trump Echoes Michael Flynn Defense, Says He Is ’Strongly Considering’ Pardon

Trump Echoes Michael Flynn Defense, Says He Is ’Strongly Considering’ Pardon
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn exits a vehicle as he arrives for his sentencing hearing in Washington, D.C., December 18, 2018. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

President Trump tweeted Sunday that he is “strongly considering” a pardon for his former national security adviser, General Michael Flynn, who is locked in a court battle to try and overturn his 2017 guilty plea for lying to the FBI over contacts with the former Russian ambassador.

“So now it is reported that, after destroying his life & the life of his wonderful family (and many others also), the FBI, working in conjunction with the Justice Department, has “lost” the records of General Michael Flynn. How convenient. I am strongly considering a Full Pardon!” Trump tweeted.

The president’s reference to Flynn’s “lost” records echoes his defense, which has repeatedly stated that the original draft of the FBI’s notes from its interview with Flynn is missing, and that the government deliberately manipulated the 302 it used to prosecute Flynn.

The Justice Department admitted in November that it “mistakenly” identified the note-takers in Flynn’s January 2017 interview, but has denied Flynn’s allegations of tampering.

“Where is the original 302?” Flynn’s lawyer Sidney Powell tweeted in January. “It cannot be ‘missing’.”

After Attorney General William Barr tasked U.S. attorney Jeffrey Jensen with reviewing the Flynn case in February, Powell tweeted that the probe “should demand the Original Flynn 302 and audit trail.”

Flynn stated in a January court filing after moving to withdraw his guilty plea that he “never lied” to federal investigators.

“When FBI agents came to the White House on January 24, 2017, I did not lie to them. I believed I was honest with them to the best of my recollection at the time,” Flynn said. “I still don’t remember if I discussed sanctions on a phone call with Ambassador Kislyak nor do I remember if we discussed the details of a UN vote on Israel.”

© 2020 National Review Tobias Hoonhout is a news writer for National Review Online.  

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