The Democrats accuse Trump of abuse of power after pardoning his former security advisor Michael Flynn. But that could only be the prelude to further controversial decisions.
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The full Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn pardoned could only have been the prelude for incumbent US President Donald Trump. The elected Republican is president with all rights until January 20 – and there are still some convicts among his allies who hope for his intervention.
These include, for example, his advisors from the 2016 election campaign, Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos, who, like Flynn, were also convicted in connection with the Russia investigation. Many were now hoping for “a wave of pardons” before the end of his term in office, wrote the New York Times.
Trump had already released his confidante Roger Stone from prison in July. And above all, the question hovers: Could the incumbent president still pardon himself as a precaution for crimes under federal law?
He has “the absolute right” to pardon himself
Trump sees himself as a victim of a “witch hunt” against him, including with a view to the Russia investigation. In June 2018 he wrote on Twitter that he had “the absolute right” to pardon himself. “But why should I do that if I haven’t done anything wrong?” He wrote at the time. Whether Trump is actually allowed to do this is controversial – should he take such a step in his last days in office, it would be a first in US history.
Former presidents such as Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama used the right to issue pardons right up to their last days in office. There were controversial cases back then, too, but the crimes of the pardoned persons were not directly related to the president or his election campaign.
Democrats accuse Trump of abuse of power
A storm of indignation is unlikely to bother him much, as his pardon Flynn shows. “It is my great honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has received a full pardon,” Trump wrote on Twitter. Leading Democrats in the US Congress reacted outraged and immediately accused Trump of abusing his power and undermining the rule of law.
Donald Trump has repeatedly abused the pardon power to reward friends and protect those who covered up for him.
This time he pardons Michael Flynn, who lied to hide his dealings with the Russians.
It’s no surprise that Trump would go out as he came in —
Crooked to the end.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) November 25, 2020
The retired general was caught up in the affair of possible Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. Flynn had been a security advisor at the White House for just over three weeks in 2017. He later admitted in the course of the investigation into the Russia affair that he lied to the Federal Police FBI. He is also said to have lied to Vice President Mike Pence. Flynn pleaded guilty to the investigation by FBI special investigator Robert Mueller.
“Have a wonderful life, General Flynn!”
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows referred to Flynn as an “American patriot” on Twitter. “What the left has done to him and his family over the past four years must never be allowed in America again.” Trump himself tweeted hours after Flynn’s pardon: “Have a wonderful life, General Flynn!”
Leading Democrats responded with outrage. Nancy Pelosi, chairwoman of the House of Representatives, accused Trump of abuse of power in favor of a convicted wrongdoer: “Flynn’s actions have represented a serious and dangerous violation of our national security.” The pardon is further proof that Trump does not respect the rule of law.
“Corrupt to the End”
House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff wrote on Twitter: “Donald Trump has repeatedly abused his pardon to reward friends and protect those who covered him.” Then the Democrat added: “Corrupt to the end.” Justice Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said the pardon was “undeserved, unprincipled, and another stain on President Trump’s rapidly dwindling legacy.”
In January, Flynn asked for his confession to be withdrawn shortly before a verdict was expected. In May, the Justice Ministry called for an end to the proceedings in a highly unusual step. It is not convinced that the hearing of Flynn in January 2017 was based on a legitimate investigation, it said. Trump then hailed Flynn as a “hero”.
The case was stuck in a federal court after the controversial advance of the Ministry of Justice. The judge responsible there had not agreed to drop the allegations against Flynn.
Trump spokeswoman: “General Flynn shouldn’t need a pardon”
The possibility of Trump pardoning his confidante has long been in the room. In March the President announced that he was seriously considering a “full pardon”. According to Trump, Flynn was treated unfairly by the judiciary and the FBI. He repeatedly complained that Flynn had been persecuted by the judiciary.
Before the November 3 presidential election, the legal battle in the Flynn case came back on the agenda: Republicans sought to mobilize supporters by portraying an establishment conspiracy against Trump. Trump spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said Wednesday: “General Flynn shouldn’t need a pardon. He’s an innocent man.” He was said to have become the “victim of partisan government officials” who tried to undermine the 2016 election.
Flynn himself tweeted a picture of the US flag on Twitter shortly before Trump’s announcement and wrote: “Jeremiah 1:19”. The Bible verse says: “May they fight you, they will not conquer you; for I am with you to save you – sayings of the Lord.”