President Donald Trump pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, despite his guilty plea over lying to the FBI.
Trump announced the pardon in a tweet on Wednesday:
“It is my Great Honour to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon,” Trump tweeted.
“Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!”
The pardon is part of a Trump effort to undo the results of a Russia investigation that yielded criminal charges against several associates.
It comes just months after the president commuted the sentence of another associate, Roger Stone, days before he was to report to prison.
For Trump’s supporters, Flynn is seen as a victim of unfair prosecution even though Flynn twice admitted guilt.
In a statement, Flynn’s family thanked Trump “for answering our prayers and the prayers of a nation” by issuing the pardon.
Democrats condemned the pardon as undeserved.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it “an act of grave corruption and a brazen abuse of power,” while Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said a “pardon by Trump does not erase” the truth of Flynn’s guilty plea, “no matter how Trump and his allies try to suggest otherwise.”
“The President’s enablers have constructed an elaborate narrative in which Trump and Flynn are victims and the Constitution is subject to the whims of the president,” House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler said in a statement.
“Americans soundly rejected this nonsense when they voted out President Trump.”
Flynn’s case has been defined by complicated changes, including at one point the US Justice Department moving to dismiss the case, a decision courts later overturned.
Flynn was fired in February 2017 after it emerged that the Obama administration had warned the White House Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian diplomat Sergey Kislyak.